Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Brighton shows solidarity with LGBTQ Russia

Saturday the 30th November 2013 saw over 100 people showing their solidarity with the increasingly oppressed LGBTQ community in Russia. The protest, organised by Socialist Party members attracted people keen to show their anger at the recent wave of oppressive legislation brought in under Putin.
This legislation, that includes at attempted ban of so called "homosexual propaganda" has seen activists arrested and jailed for organising and joining protests, and is part of a general crackdown by the Russian state on any form of dissent.

The protest heard from Ksenia Zhivago, a Russian activist who has experienced the brutality of the Russian state first hand. She called for mass international protests on the day the Winter Olympics opens, 7th February 2014 to highlight the plight of LGBTQ people in Russia and to put pressure on the Putin regime.
Local Green councillor Phelim McAfferty spoke and pointed out that Russia had been the first country to legalise gay marriage following the 1917 Bolshevik revolution! It is a damming indictment of capitalism to look at the plight of LGBTQ people in Russia today, nearly 100 years on from 1917.
Two local poets read out poignant messages, and Socialist Party member Beth Granter shared a message from the Russian section of the CWI (Committee For a Worker's International). CWI members have been at the forefront of the struggle in Russia and have faced huge fines and imprisonment for their activism.
Crucially it was highlighted at the rally by Peter Tatchell, longstanding LGBT rights activist, that these laws in Russia also threaten the rights of everyone fighting back against Putin; the "propaganda" law has been used to sack striking teachers.

 The fight for LGBTQ rights is a fight that must be taken up by all of those fighting austerity and for democracy in Russia,

The protest then marched down St James Street, led by a loud and vibrant samba band - to applause from passers by. It was clear that the message of support being shown to Russian LGBTQ people was widely echoed across Brighton.
It was the largest demonstration on this issue outside of London, and a fantastic building block for future action, which is likely to include marking the opening of the Winter Olympics on February 7th 2014.