Student Action Committee-USA

British Gay Activist Confronts Pervez Musharraf

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London’s OutRage! Leader Blocks Pakistani Strongman’s Limo
Doug Ireland | 01.31.2008 | GayCityNews
[full article here and here]

Britain’s best-known gay activist, Peter Tatchell, confronted Pakistan’s Pervez Musharraf this past weekend when the dictator arrived in London on the last leg of his European tour, blocking the general’s car with his body repeatedly to protest “the suppression of democracy and human rights” by the military strongman.

Tatchell, who this year marks the 40th anniversary of his start as an activist, undertook the protest against Musharraf even though he is still suffering the physical after-effects of the severe beating he received last year in Moscow when a crowd of fascist thugs, egged on by the police, violently broke up an attempted Gay Pride demonstration in front of Moscow’s City Hall that Tatchell had gone to Russia to support (see this reporter’s May 31-Jun. 5, 2007 article, “The Agony of Moscow Pride”).

“I’ve still got cognition and physical cordination problems, loss of vision, and memory holes” as a result of the Moscow beating, Tatchell, head of the militant UK queer rights group OutRage!, told Gay City News by telephone from London. He added, “First my doctors told me I’d be alright in a month, then they said three months, and now they’re telling me these problems may never go away.”

The ambush of Musharraf happened outside London’s Hilton Hotel Park Lane on January 25, as the Pakistani president’s motorcade drew close to the hotel, where he was scheduled to speak.

“To avert police attention, I stood inconspicuously at a bus stop reading a newspaper, waiting for Musharraf’s motorcade to arrive,” said Tatchell. “When the police motorcycle escorts drew level, I ran out into Park Lane and straight in front of the president’s car. It screeched to a halt. I unfurled a placard protesting against Musharraf’s massacre of civilians in occupied Baluchistan. The placard read: ‘Stop Pakistan Massacre of Baluch people.'”

Tatchell got his message across to the Pakistani dictator.

“Musharraf could clearly see the placard, and he did not look pleased,” he said. “His driver tried to back up and drive around me, but I ran in front of the limousine again, forcing it to halt once more. I could see Musharraf shouting something at his driver. Perhaps he feared that I was an assassin or a suicide bomber.”

Then, said Tatchell, “The limo reversed again and tried to swerve past me. I blocked it for the third time. Musharraf and his colleagues looked very agitated. Eventually, police motorcycle escorts ran over and dragged me away from the bonnet of Musharraf’s vehicle.”

Pulled across the road by police, Tatchell was pinned against a railing. He was soon released by police, allowing him to join the main anti-Musharraf demonstration outside the Hilton, organized by lawyers protesting the arrest of their colleagues and of Supreme Court judges in Pakistan.

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Written by SAC-USA

4 February 2008 at 11:19 pm

Posted in SAC

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