Moscow police Collude with Neo-Nazis against Gays

Daniel Choi, a U.S. Iraq war veteran and gay-rights campaigner, was among the 34 people arrested in Moscow on May 28 as activists attempted to march in a rally banned by the city government.

Attempts since 2006 to hold the event have consistently been met with official bullying, arrests, and clashes with police and right-wing counterprotesters.

“We witnessed a high level of fraternisation and collusion between neo-Nazis and the Moscow police. I saw neo-Nazis leave and re-enter police buses parked on Tverskaya Street by City Hall,” reports British human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who was part of the Moscow Gay Pride protest group on Saturday 28 May 2011.

“Russian TV presenter on channel ‘TV-Centre’, Olga Bakushinskaya, blogged that she also saw right-wing extremists at City Hall sitting in police buses and liaising openly with the riot police, the Omon.

“Either the police were actively facilitating the right-wing extremists with transport to the protest or many of the neo-Nazis were actually plainclothes police officers. They did to us what their uniformed colleagues dared not do in front of the world’s media: give many of us a good beating.

“By banning Moscow Gay Pride, Russia has defied a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that it must be allowed to proceed. Some of us now plan to press the Council of Europe to suspend Russia’s right to vote in the Council’s parliamentary assembly. Russia must not be permitted to defy the European Court with impunity.
“Prior to the staging of Moscow Gay Pride, the ban was condemned by the Council of Europe’s Secretary-General, Thorbjorn Jagland, and its Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg.

This past October, the European Court of Human Rights fined Russia for banning gay parades in the capital.