RMT Protest At Russian Embassy Against Attacks On LGBT Rights

The RMT held a protest outside the Russian Federation Embassy in Kensington to voice our disgust at the governments attacks on gay rights and to voice our support for LGBT people in the country.

RMT's activists organised leafleting and a demo at the embassy on Tuesday. As the building is in a private road we were ushered to a site prepared by the police who were ready for with barriers in place.

We had two hundred leaflets to hand out. As there weren;t many people walking in the area where we were demonstrating we made our way to soho where we handed out the remaining leaflets in order to raise awareness of what is happening in Russia.

We also handed a letter signed by numerous RMT Membersto the Russian Federation Embassy staff:

We, the undersigned members of the RMT National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers, urge President Vladimir Putin to stop attacks on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Russians; honour Russia’s International human rights obligations and treaties, and stop pushing discriminatory anti-gay legislation.

In October 2010 the European Court of Human Rights found Russia in violation of freedom of assembly for denying activists the right to hold pride marches. But despite this legally binding ruling, attempted gay pride rallies and LGBT rights pickets in Moscow and St Petersburg have been repeatedly dispersed by police, and gay rights advocates arrested and detained for the simple act of publicly demanding their rights.

On each occasion, police have used excessive force and failed to protect peaceful LGBT protesters from the violence of anti-gay protestors, Russian Orthodox Church activists, neo-Nazis, and extreme nationalists.

In June 2012, the Moscow City Government banned gay pride events in the city for 100 years. In Saint Petersburg, it is now illegal to speak in public or publish any article about being LGBT. After Ryazan, Arkhangelsk and Kostroma, St Petersburg is the fourth city to pass such a law.
Such laws unmistakably contravene Russia’s obligations as a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both of which impose obligations on countries to protect the right of individuals not to be discriminated against, and the rights to freedom of assembly, association, and expression.

We are appalled by the homophobic extremism of deputy Vitaly Milonov, a noted and outspoken proponent of Russia’s Orthodox Church and the author of the St Petersburg anti-gay law. His repeated reference to LGBT people as “perverts” and his invented claim that gay rights activists are “waging an aggressive campaign of conversion among Russia’s children with the backing of Western governments” is scandalous and defamatory. We note his recent interview on the Russian talk radio show Ekho Moskvy, when he likened same-sex attraction to “a bad habit” and “an illness which can be cured”. “God can send many temptations upon us” he said, “but the thing is, this illness is easily treated by fasting and praying.” “I do not know of a single case within the Russian Orthodox Church that a man would not be cured by his sincere repentance in this sin. People get rid of it, just like they get rid of kleptomania”.

We call on President Putin to end the persecution of LGBT Russians, honour Russia’s International human rights obligations and treaties, and respect the rights of all Russians regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.

The RMT has resolved to put it's weight behind the fight for international LGBT rights. You can read more about this here.