Belarus Bans Two LGBT Rights Demonstrations
Authorities in Minks, the capital of the Eastern European country Belarus, announced Wednesday the banning of two LGBT rights rallies. Local gay activists plan to defy the ban. Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty reports.
The marches were to be held Dec. 11 and Dec. 12 but authorities canceled the events, claiming a "technical" issue and a timing problem.
Officials from the GayBelarus, a Belarus-based LGBT group, are speaking out on the ban, saying the unwillingness by authorities to talk about the parameters of the marches, like the formats and times, "constitutes deliberate contempt of civil and political rights and freedoms."
LGBT activists in Minsk told RFE/RL that they plan to carry on with the marches, regardless of the ban.
Belarus held its first LGBT rally in 2011 but authorities advised LGBT activists to refrain from displaying the rainbow flag. Activists worked around the authorities' order by using the rainbow in other ways, including signs and shirts.
The 2011 rally was peaceful and went off without interference from police or from anti-gay counter demonstrators.