Russian authorities have blocked a gay pride parade planned north of the Arctic Circle over what they say are health dangers posed by bad weather.
The actual weather forecast for Feb. 9 (today), the previously planned parade day, is for 18 mph winds (29 kilometers per hour) and a high temperature of 16 degrees Fahrenheit (-9 degrees Celsius).
Gay rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev planned to hold the parade today in Teriberka, a town of just over 1,000 people, as part of his campaign to host LGBT rallies in 185 cities and towns across Russia. A law banning “gay propaganda” has significantly reduced the number of gay pride events in the country since it passed in 2013.
Teriberka’s local authorities cited bad weather conditions in their refusal to allow the rally, including low temperatures and high winds that “could endanger the health of the citizens that participate in your event,” according to an official letter dated Jan. 31 that the activist posted on his Vkontakte social media page.
“I’ve never received an answer like this,” Alexeyev said in a telephone interview with The Moscow Times, adding that “95 percent of the time” the authorities cite the 2013 gay propaganda law when refusing his applications for events.
Other reasons cited by the authorities for their refusal include the presence of dilapidated homes along the route of the rally that could collapse and hurt participants.
Alexeyev said that the march was planned in Teriberka specifically because of its fame: It was the set for the 2014 Golden Globe-winning film “Leviathan.”
“We are appealing in court,” Alexeyev said.
“If needed, we will take it to the European Court of Human Rights.”