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Gay Rights March and Rally Banned in Belarus; Activists Say They'll Proceed Anyway

Minsk

Activists say they'll proceed anyway after officials in Minsk, Belarus banned two upcoming gay rights events, Radio Free Europe reports:

Authorities blamed their decision not to allow a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) march planned for December 11 and a gay-rights rally planned for December 12 on "technical" and timing problems.

The GayBelarus national youth civic association condemned the ban, saying that the unwillingness by authorities to discuss different formats and times for the events "constitutes deliberate contempt of civil and political rights and freedoms."

Belarus activists held their first LGBT rally ever back in 2011 but at the time were ordered by authorities not to display the rainbow flag. They got around that order by using the rainbow in other elements of their signage (above).

In 2010, riot police put a violent end to an LGBT rights rally.


LGBT Activists Hold First Authorized Rally in Minsk

Minsk

Authorities in Minsk, Belarus approved an LGBT rally in the city for the first time ever. KyivPost reports that authorities directed demonstrators not to use the rainbow flag.

UK Gay News supplies the above photo, and writes:

The rally was seen to have created history in the country where events organised by the gay community up to now have always been banned.

And the result was that there were twice as many journalists on hand to cover the event than those taking part.

“For the first time the only thing that we feared was neither the police nor the homophobe hooligans but the cold,” said Sergey Praded, organiser of the event and co-chair of IDAHO Belarus.

“In the last six months, we have submitted dozens of applications to hold a rally.  We appealed to the court. But it seems that the dialogue that we also started to initiate with the authorities paid off.

“This is a very good first step for all of us and I hope that it will help us collect more participants to future actions.”

In addition to condemning homophobia, activists also called for equal rights for gays and lesbians.

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