Russian police have “detained” around 25 gay rights activists who took part in an unsanctioned gay rights rally in St Petersburg on Saturday.
Activists gathered at Palace Square on Saturday afternoon demanding freedom of association after city authorities turned down their request to hold a Pride parade.
City authorities rejected their request, saying there was ongoing road repairs in the city and claiming that LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) actions were “harmful to the health of children.”
Police detained campaigners who unfurled rainbow flags or held placards, dragging them one by one into a police bus. There were no violent clashes between police and the activists and as of now there have been no formal charges brought.
Russia passed a law in 2013 signed by Vladimir Putin banning the spreading of gay “propaganda”.
We will update this story as more details become known.
Anti-gay Russian lawmaker Vitaly Milonov joined a group of about 20 anti-gay thugs from the Russian Orthodox Church and crashed the opening of the St. Petersburg International Queer Culture Festival. Milonov and his thugs insulted and physically manhandled guests, representatives of human rights organizations and European and the US diplomats. Thn they proceeded to spray guests with green substance and some sort of putrid gas. At one point, two foreign guests were being pulled into the venue by the security while being pulled out by their feet by the attackers. 16 attendees were reportedly hospitalized after an unknown gas was released.
Via Radio Free Europe:
St. Petersburg lawmaker Vitaly Milonov, his aide Anatoly Artyukh, and activists who associate themselves with the Russian Orthodox faith interrupted the opening ceremony of the “KviroFest-2014” event at a cafe on September 18. The visitors splashed an indelible green antiseptic on participants and released an unidentified gas that sickened many. The 10-day festival opened despite the attack. Russia decriminalized homosexual relations after the 1991 Soviet collapse, but such harassment is common. Rights defenders and Western governments including the United States say a 2013 law banning the dissemination of gay “propaganda” to minors is discriminatory and encourages ill-treatment of LGBT people.
now comes the news that the venues hosting Queerfest have bowed to anti-gay pressures, and most events are now homeless. But the organizers remain optimistic.
A rabidly anti-gay St. Petersburg group is using the popular Russian social media site Vkontakte offering a reward of the equivalent of $150 for to Russian citizens who report “confirmed” information on LGBT schoolteachers. The group aims to expose them and have them fired by using Russia’s “gay propaganda to minors law” with the help of local authorities.
Queer Russia reports:
A new St. Petersburg based antigay group emerged on a popular Russian social network Vkontakte has launched an on-line campaign offering an equivalent of $150 for reporting “confirmed” information on LGBT school teachers. The group aims to stop “gay propaganda to minors” in schools and dismiss gay teachers with the help of local authorities. The announcement published on the group’s page Vkontakte urges people to collect and send in any public information about LGBT teachers who are, “explicitly or implicitly”, open about their own sexual orientation on the internet and to their schoolchildren.
The group refuses to accept any rumors or slander and stresses that the information must be available in the open sources so that the group’s activity does not violate the Russian law on collecting personal data without a person’s consent. The announcement claims that such open information can be “threatening to psyche and mind of children who may be around such people”. The group claims to have connections with the Russian authorities in order to perform dismissals “without any bullying, homophobia or calls to violence”, but still enforcing the “gay propaganda to minors ban law”.
The group says that the names of six teachers were reported within the first 24 hours of their post.
And now the witch hunt, gay progroms have begun in earnest. It is Germany circa 1934 all over again. Not just about LGBT issues but about xenophobia and economic concentration amongst the party elites.
Did they learn nothing from the past?
GayStarNews is reporting that about 60 participants in today’s St Petersburg Russia gay pride parade have been arrested and are being detained in police vans.
Nikolai Alekseev, one of Russia’s most prominent LGBT activists who was arrested last month for organizing a gay rights march has confirmed that around 60 fellow activists and pro-gay supporters are now in police custody and that some were badly beaten by anti-gay protestors who attacked the participant’s.
Five Russian gay couples, who yesterday in a historical legal move applied for marriage licenses, were also taking part in today’s march and are now under police custody. The chair of St. Petersburg Pride and Equality organization Yury Gavrikov and his partner Maksim were one of the couples arrested. Gavrikov, who knew he was likely to face arrest for organizing today’s gay pride march, could face double penalties as an LGBT individual and leader of an LGBT organization who breached the local and federal Russia’s gay gag laws to ‘protect minors’ from so called ‘homosexual propaganda’.
According to the draconian Russian law any media, gay rights organization, or individual could be fined up to one million rubles ($30.8k, €23.2k) and shut down for 90 days, individuals could be fined up to 100,000 rubles ($3k, €2.3k) and foreigners could be fined the same amount, held in jail for 15 days and deported.
Watch the shocking video below.
Despite St. Petersburg, Russia’s controversial and draconian “gay propaganda” law and memory of the arrest and detention of 17 gay rights activists last year over 100 gay rights activists held pro-gay banners reading “Repeal the Shameful Homophobic Law! Let’s Stop Hate and Discrimination Together!”
Under St. Petersburg’s “gay propaganda law” the activists risked arrest and could have faced up to $17,000 in fines and arrest for “promoting homosexuality” among minors as a result of their participation in the parade.
But it was not without incident. The group did have a minor confrontation with authorities who tried to stop them from holding rainbow flags.
Olga Lenkova, gay rights activist with Coming Out, said, “Despite attempts by the police to ban deployment of rainbow flags at the beginning of the march, activists were able to pass along the entire route with rainbow flags and banners with no arrests.” The Russian LGBT network released a statement about the event as well and said, “Last year in the May Day procession, anyone who held up a rainbow flag was arrested just for this. Today, the ’rainbow column’ marched with flags proudly held high and the feeble requests of the police to ’stop propaganda’ were ignored.
May Day event the group faced some confrontations with authorities who tried to stop them from holding rainbow flags.
Igor Kochetkov, director of the Russian LGBT network, addressed the crowd during this year’s May Day parade and said, “Friends, this is indeed a victory. We have not won, but the struggle clearly goes in our favor. Not just for LGBT, but for advocates of freedom and democracy across the Russian Federation. Happy 1st of May!”
This is what true courage in LGBT activism looks like.
Madonna during her recent concert’s in St. Petersburg, Russia has spoken out for LGBT rights and attacking the recently passed a law banning so-called “gay propaganda”.
Reuters offers more details about the demonstration.
Performing in black lingerie with the words “No Fear” scrawled on her bare back, Madonna urged the audience – most wearing pink wrist bands distributed at the door – to “show your love and appreciation to the gay community”.
“Do we live in fear?” Madonna reportedly asked the audience
“We want to fight for the right to be free,” she said.
The American singer has turned a two-concert tour into a platform for comment on Putin’s Russia.
There’s no word on whether officials will try to fine the Madonna for her statements which are against the law in Russia because of the draconian law, Deputy Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin had some harsh words for pro-equality Madonna. “Every former whore seeks to lecture everyone on morality as she gets older.
Sounds to me like Prime Minister Rogozin might be a closeted musical theatre queen.
A “whore”? Really?
Shades of Rainbow Tour from Evita anyone?
St. Petersburg, Russia police have broken up attempts to hold two separate gay rights rallies and have arrested at least 8 gay rights activists.
Three rally organizers were arrested Saturday at a park in Russia’s second city, and five others were detained at a later rally attempt near the landmark Smolny complex
Even though homosexuality was decriminalized after the fall of the Soviet Union. Last February St. Petersburg passed a law which prohibits the passing of “propaganda (information, etc) of sodomy (homosexuality), lesbianism, bisexualism, transgenderism, and pedophilia to minors’”.
Arrests can result in fines of up to 500,000 rubles ($15,000) and/or possible prison time for spreading “homosexual propaganda.”
The law, written by Vilatly Milonov purposely included LGBT’s with the heinous criminal offense of “child molestation and abuse” to demonize the LGBT Community even further in Russia
LGBT russian citizens scored a victory for their human rights as a judge in St Petersburg has ruled that the recent “anti-propaganda law” that allows St Petersburg officials to ban LGBT gatherings and events is unlawful.
Coming Out St Petersburg has reported that the Smolninsky district court had handed down a decision yesterday saying the authorities lacked the competence to determine whether the events would amount to propaganda before they took place.
It also denied the officials’ standing to cancel events, saying they only had authority to suggest alternative times and places for rallies.
The law which prohibits the passing of “propaganda (information, etc) of sodomy (homosexuality), lesbianism, bisexualism, transgenderism, and pedophilia to minors’. Was passed by the St Petersburg legislature earlier this year and purposely lumped the LGBT Community into one law with pedophilia to demonize LGBT community even more and to severely limit its human rights in Russia
Although a reason to celebrate, this ruling does not guarantee future rallies would not be banned. But it is a start.
Release in Russian HERE: http://www.comingoutspb.ru/ru/news/viigrali_sud
At least five gay rights activists were roughly arrested and taken to a police car in St. Petersburg, Russia Saturday for holding a banned rally outside the Hermitage museum in St. Petersburg. Protestors had hoped to outwit authorities by only revealing the site at the last minute.
About 30 protestors had gathered outside the famous Hermitage museum on Palace Square, shouting slogans such as “Equality without compromise,” “Homophobia is an illness,” “Homophobia – the country’s shame” and “Marriage rights without compromises. Activists had kept the location of Saturday’s rally a secret until the last minute in an attempt to prevent the arrests. Organizers said it was only their “military planning” that prevented further arrests at that rally.
A small group of anti-gay activists also showed up, attempting to attack the protesters. At least four of them were also detained.
Moscow’s Mayor Yury Luzhkov has described gay pride parades as “satanic” and gay rights activists have condemned the Russian authorities’ refusal to allow gay rights demonstrations.
As we celebrate gay pride today in many places in America please let us remember our oppressed brothers and sisters in Russia and other parts of the world.