Gay activists stage pride march on Minsk`s outskirts

Submitted by ILGA-Europe

Original article:

Gay activists staged a gay pride march in Minsk’s remote neighborhood Shabany on Saturday evening in defiance of the city authorities’ ban.

Some 20 people marched 40 meters along a busy road in the southeastern neighborhood on the outskirts of the city, holding up rainbow flags and chanting “For Belarus without homophobia!”

The march lasted some 10 minutes. No policemen could be seen nearby.

Syarhey Androsenka, one of the organizers of the march, told reporters at the scene that he was not ashamed to be gay. Gay people should have the same rights as other citizens of Belarus and should not be subjected to discrimination, he said.

“As you can see, the march has not disturbed a single driver or pedestrian,” Mr. Androsenka added.

The organizers initially wanted to stage the march in the Sosny neighborhood located nearby.

Ihar Karpenka, deputy chairman of the Minsk City Executive Committee, said in his reply to the organizers` application for permission that the proposed venue is less than 50 meters away from facilities that are of vital importance to the local community. The official claimed that the march would cause disruption to "pedestrian and even vehicle traffic."

The 2011 Minsk Gay Pride Parade kicked off in the Belarusian capital city on October 11. Music concerts are to be held within its framework on Saturday evening and Sunday.

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