Minsk City Authorities Say ‘No’ 100 Times to Planned Equality March Organised by Gay Group

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City authorities in the Belarus capital have refused permission for IDAHO Belarus to stage a March for Equality next week to coincide with International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

The group had filed 100 applications that covered most parts of Minsk. All were rejected. In most cases, the reasons for the refusal were public safety considerations

On April 29, activists Sergey Praded, Natalya Praded, Sergey Yenin, Alesya Yakubovskaya and Roman Navoev filed one hundred applications for the march with the Minsk City Executive Committee.

“Our applications covered almost all the possible streets and square of Minsk where a public action can be organized and this included the city suburbs,” said IDAHO Belarus co-chair Sergey Praded said this afternoon.

Asked why the organizers opted to apply for permission to stage the march with 100 different application, he explained: “We often get denial with the argument that the location we request is already booked by other groups and this is why this time our applications covered almost all the possible streets and squares of Minsk where a public action can be organised including in the suburbs. We also proposed different time slots.”

The Equality March was intended to gather various social groups to raise the issue of human rights violations, discrimination and intolerant attitude to people on grounds of belonging to a minority.

The street action was to take place during the Equality Festival, which opens in Minsk on Saturday (May 14) with the screening of the documentary East Bloc Love, an Australian-Russian production directed by Logan Mucha, as well as the exhibition Images Against Homophobia by American photographer Chad Meacham.

On hearing that permission had been refused for all 100 application organisers said they have not yet decided whether they will hold the event, despite the absence of permit. Mr. Praded confirmed to GayRussia that the bans will be appealed in court.

Last year, the Slavic Gay Pride was banned by the City Hall – but the organisers defied the ban. A dozen of Belarusian and Russian participants, including some of the organisers, were arrested and detained.

Last February Belarusian LGBT activists held their first authorized demonstration in Minsk. Around a dozen of them protested against homophobia and ask for the respect for the rights of sexual minorities in Belarus. There were no incidents during the event.