Moscow mayor invited to Stockholm gay pride festival

A group of Swedish politicians have invited Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov to attend Stockholm's gay pride festival on August 4th following violence at the recent parade in Moscow, initiators said Wednesday.

“We have invited the mayor to visit our festival and to see how we work with HBT (homo-, bi- and transsexual) issues here. It is important to deal with homophobia,” Stockholm city council Green Party leader Yvonne Ruwaida told AFP.

“We have an obligation to act when unacceptable things happen,” she said, adding: “It is important to respect freedom of speech and the right to demonstrate.”

Luzkhov in 2006 banned an attempt to hold the city’s first gay and lesbian parade and repeated his ban again this year calling the event “Satan’s work.”

Organizers pushed ahead with the parade despite the ban and staged Moscow’s

second ever Gay Pride march. The parade resulted in violent clashes between police, gay activists and right-wing extremists.

Police also systematically arrested several people and detained Russian gay community leader Nikolai Alexeyev and several European lawmakers in central


At last year’s parade, more than 100 people were arrested and dozens of gay rights campaigners were attacked by skinheads.

Ruwaida said a letter initiated by the Green Party was signed by the leaders from all parties in the Stockholm city council except the conservative Moderates and Christian Democrats and was to be sent to Moscow on Wednesday.