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GLN IN THE PRESS

Oct 2, 2007 8:24 am US/Central cbs2chicago.com - LINK

Russian Gay Rights Activist To Speak In Chicago

Nikolai Alexeyev Was Detained By Police At 2 Moscow Pride Parades

(CBS) CHICAGO A Russian activist who has organized pride parades in Moscow in defiance of city bans will speak this weekend at a gay rights march this weekend.

The ninth annual Matthew Shepard March is scheduled for Saturday at Halsted and Roscoe streets. Nikolai Alexeyev is scheduled to be the keynote speaker.

Alexeyev has organized several gay pride parades in Moscow, facing violent protests and getting arrested for defying a ban on such events by Moscow's mayor.

Homosexuality has been decriminalized in Russia for the past 14 years, but is still widely despised.

At a gay pride parade in Moscow last May, police detained gay rights activists, among them European lawmakers, as they tried to present a letter to Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov in a demonstration that also attracted a hostile crowd of people who punched and threw eggs at the activists.

Andy Thayer of the Gay Liberation Network, which organizes the march against anti-gay crimes, said Alexeyev's work "demonstrates how rights have always been won, regardless of country."

The Matthew Shepard March is scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

(© MMVII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)


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