*Russia: Tambov Court Confirms Bans of Gay Picket and March Lawful*
*Organizers to appeal in regional court and then to the European Court of
On Thursday 13 November Lenin district court of Tambov city, 480 km south of
Moscow, dismissed Moscow Pride organizers complaint against the ban of gay
picket and march in the city by City Administration. The public events were
organized to fight homophobia and in support of the rights of sexual
minorities in Russia.
The federal judge Tamara Prostoserdova announced only resolution part of the
decision after three hours of court hearing with the participation of the
representatives of City Administration, the prosecutor and organizer of the
events Nikolai Alekseev.
The applications to conduct the picket and the march on 10 and 18 October
respectively were given to the Tambov City Administration on 6 October in
full accordance with the Russian law. The same day the authorities offered
the organizers to change the place of the picketing and to transfer it to
the Ice Sports Palace "Kristall". On Tuesday 7 October the organizers agreed
with the proposal of the City Administration.
According to the application the picketing to express opinions to denounce
homophobic statements of Tambov region governor Oleg Betin and to appeal for
respect for the rights of homosexual people in Russia was supposed to take
place on 10 October from 1 to 2 pm.
Second public event of sexual minorities in Tambov was supposed to take
place on 18 October in the form of a march in support for tolerant attitude
and respect for the rights and freedoms of homosexual people in Russia.
According to the letter of Tambov City Administration the proposed picketing
was banned due to the numerous letters of protest received from various
public organizations. They said that the event was a propaganda of
homosexuality and was deemed to spoil the image of Tambov as an Orthodox
The City Administration said that in accordance with the law on local
government it was obliged to listen to the views of the majority of citizens
who were against the conduct of the proposed public event. In these
circumstances the authorities stressed that they were unable to provide
security for the participants of the event.
The ban of the gay march on 18 October was issued due to the impossibility
to block traffic. Tambov City Administration said that the march breaches
the rights of drivers and could lead to accidents on the city roads.
According to Russian federal law the authorities were obliged to offer the
organizers alternative route or time for the march.
In their complaints to Lenin district court of Tambov organizers of public
events said that the authorities had no reasons to ban the events and that
they were obliged to provide security for the participants.
Organizer of Moscow Gay Pride and public events in Tambov Nikolai Alekseev
said upon leaving the court on Thursday that "the decision of the district
court will be appealed to Tambov regional court as soon as we get the
motivated part of the decision. Even though the position of City
Administration representatives and prosecution was very weak, the court
decision was dictated by the political situation in the region and in the
Nikolai Alekseev suggested that "if the regional court also supports city
authorities, the case will be sent to the European Court of Human Rights".
He reminded that there are several complaints of Russian gay activists
concerning the ban of public events in Moscow already pending in Strasbourg.
Two of the cases concern the bans of Moscow Pride events in 2006 and 2007.