On The Barricades!

to-russia-with-loveLord Mayor Eberhard van der Laan of Amsterdam called on the government to serve a state complaint to the violation of human rights against Russia. He did so during the To Russia With Love concert at Museum Square, a demonstration for gay rights in Russia. Van der Laan’s call got a deafening applause.

According to the mayor, it is possible to submit to a state a complaint before the European Court in Strasbourg. A judge can look if the anti-gay law, which recently became into action in Russia is key to the Convention on Human Rights. Van der Laan, a former lawyer, suggested this option for the first time, and told he didn’t have had with contract with the Dutch government.

to-russia-with-love-02Russia is, according to Van der Laan, the only country where the rights of privacy are curtailed rather than expanded. The mayor wore in addition to his normal chain of office a multicolored rainbow chain that his predecessor Schelto Patijn had worn at the Gay Games. [1998]

At Amsterdam’s Museumplein were during the early evening according to the organization about 2500 people gathered for the To Russia With Love concert. This was a protest against a later that same evening organized gala concert by the Russian state. The initiators, gay interest group COC Netherlands and United Pride, wanted to draw attention to the developments in Russia, where gay rights are under great pressure. Next to the stage was a large inflatable version of President Putin.

The protesters were also at the public gala concert, which began at eight. On the square outside of the Concertgebouw was therefore a large outdoor stage built. The organization of To Russia with Love had indicated that the concert would not be disrupted. Both the mayor along with protesters was going to this Russian concert.

Konstantien Kosachev, the organizer of the Russian concert, said he hoped that the protesters showed respect. According to Kosachev they have a wrong picture of the situation in Russia. “Homophobia does not exists there”.

Tanja Ineke, president COC Netherlands [and co-organizer]: “How can a country be proud of its diversity while gay men and lesbian women are discriminated against and abused? How can you be proud of a country where you can’t be openly yourself ?”

2 thoughts on “On The Barricades!

  1. Nice work Peter. There hasn’t been much activity here about the matter, but it is being talked about a bit. It is a country close to you, so you are the ones who need put on pressure, and you are.

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