Today's Weird but True News from Russia
Orthodox priests join the protest
Moscow-- Hundreds of Russian Orthodox Christians took the streets today to oppose The Da Vinci Code and burn posters from the movie, in their best impersonation of the angry Muslims who torched Danish flags in response to the Mohammed cartoons. "That's how the heretic things are burned!" exclaimed one ecstatic spokesman for the demonstrators. While the posters were burning, Moscow cops stood aside. Officers had been briefed by their supervisors not to intervene in these "religious things, unless there's an open physical fight". Many Russian Muslims are also outraged by the film, because Jesus is esteemed as a prophet in the Koran, they view The Da Vinci Code's claim that Jesus slept with Mary Magdalene as an attack on their religion as well as Christianity.
The protestors were praying for the hearts and souls of moviegoers and shouting the slogan "Buy a movie ticket -- sell Jesus Christ!" A handful of young Russian girls who witnessed the protest decided that now they "must see that movie". The spokesman for the protesters added that, "We're burning the heretic posters, we'll burn the heretic books and we'd love to throw Dan Brown and the actors into the furnace as well, in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen!" Several hundred copies of Dan Brown's novel will be burned tomorrow at 2 pm, in Pushkinskaya Square in downtown Moscow. If you live in Moscow make sure to check out the movie and the protest!
Click on the extended post to read more outrageous and funny stories from Russia.
MAYOR LUZHKOV BLOCKS GAY PRIDE PARADE IN MOSCOW
Moscow -- The City of Moscow has prohibited a local gay rights group from marching through the city on May 27. The organization had been planning their gay pride parade for several months. The head of GayRussia Group Nikolay Alexeyev said that his organization had planned a peaceful demonstration without any "nudity or other inappropriate things"; he wanted to show that there are gays in Russia and that Russians should be concerned about the physical safety and basic human rights of gay people.
Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov has vowed repeatedly that he will not allow the gay pride event to take place in his city, because that's not what Muscovites want to see in their streets. City of Moscow spokesmen claimed that it was impossible to shut down traffic in the streets where the parade was supposed to take place. However, many gay people have their own opinion about why the government refuses to let them march. One Moscow gay rights activist said that Russian society is still "not educated enough and not ready to accept this kind of events, and open contradiction can only cause more violence".
KHABAROVSK MOTORISTS ATTACK POLICE WITH STONES
Khabarovsk, Siberia -- The chief of the local traffic police, Yuri Plotnikov, has issued an emergency decree. According to the decree, drivers who are pulled over with unpaid tickets will have their licenses confiscated until they pay the fines. This measure outraged many drivers and they retaliated by pelting a police vehicle with rocks. Another police cruiser that responded to officers' call for help was attacked and a 24 year old officer was injured when he was struck by a motorist driving a Nissan. One of the officers from the second police car fired his Kalashnikov rifle in the air to scare off stone throwers and make the Nissan driver pull over.
Khabarovsk authorities have ordered OMON special police units into the streets to restore order.
This story is complicated, but in brief -- many non-violent but upset motorists claim that the bill contradicts three federal laws; while police spokesmen have said that the law is legitimate and vow to enforce it and punish rioters.
REGIONAL POLICE STATION LOSES POWER IN FIGHT WITH PLANT MANAGERS
Pudozhsky Region, Russian Republic of Karelia -- The state of Karelia in the far north of European Russia had its own incident this week, during a confrontation between local police and the managers of the local power station. Pudozhsky region police officers arrested a drunk man, who happened to be the executive director of the local power plant. The vice-director of the plant, also drunk, called police and threatened to shut down the power to the whole town, including the police station, if his boss was not released. Local police not only refused to give in to this threat, they responded by arresting the vice manager too.
A half hour after arresting the second man the police station lost power. One hour later the power came back on, and the power plant executives had sobered up. They were released (because they weren't drunk any more), and their release was followed by the police filing a lawsuit against the power plant. Local prosecutors have launched an investigation; however I'm not sure if the judges will be able to make a fair decision without the lights going out in the courtroom as well.
BAD DRIVING BY RUSSIAN, AMERICAN DIPLOMATIC PERSONNEL
New York, April 25 -- A drunk Russian embassy attachÃ© tried to drive around a construction zone on 108th Street in Manhattan. While driving on the sidewalk, he struck and injured a New York police officer. The embassy representative was arrested and charged with 7 counts, including driving while intoxicated. Several weeks later the attache was deported from the United States, and given good riddance by the NYPD and Mayor Bloomberg.
Russians accepted that their embassy worker was guiltyt, however, they noted that American embassy workers have committed 25 serious traffic violations in Moscow in just the two last years, and Russia traffic police and the Foreign Ministry have always tried to settle these incidents without embarassing publicity. The Russian Foreign Ministry was confused by what they perceived to be a harsh American response to an isolated incident.
You can watch a You Tube video of the gay pride marchers and peaceful Russian Orthodox Christian babushkas demonstrating against the march here
(WARNING: Some bad Russian language):