Activists arrested in St Petersburg for defying gay pride ban

Eight campaigners are still in police detention after holding pickets for LGBT rights in Russian city

Activists arrested in St Petersburg for defying gay pride ban
09 July 2012

Eight activists were arrested in St Petersburg on ‘homosexual propaganda’ charges after holding a protest in defiance of the city’s gay pride ban.

Organizers of St Petersburg’s third pride parade ignored authorities’ decision to forbid a rally for the city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community on Saturday (7 July), holding two pickets.

However, police broke up the protests, arresting three in a park to the north of the city and later five more outside the City Hall, where they unfurled a rainbow flag.

Yury Gavrikov, head of pride organizers Ravnopravie, told Gay Star News the campaigners are still being detained by the police and are due in court today (9 July) for breaking the city’s anti-gay law which can be used to gag any public discussion of LGBT issues or events targeted at gay and trans people.

‘All of the participants were arrested and have been detained for two days now.
‘The picket outside the government building was small so you didn’t need permission to hold it.’

St Petersburg Pride organizers applied to authorities in different districts of the city to agree on a route for the event in advance and permission was granted for the event to take place at Poliustrov Park on the city’s outskirts.

However, on Friday (6 July) the authorities backtracked on this plan, claiming reports in the media that the event was a ‘gay pride’ were in conflict with their application which described it as a ‘march and a stationary rally against the violations of LGBT people’s rights’.

In the last two years, the non-governmental organization has submitted applications to the authorities to hold a pride in St Petersburg.

Different courts in St Petersburg have ruled against the authorities’ repeated refusal to let pride proceed and authorities have suggested on a number of occasions that Pride organizers hold the event in remote areas of the city, only to withdraw their agreement at the last minute.

In March 2012, a new law was adopted in St Petersburg, banning ‘propaganda of sodomy, lesbianism, bisexuality and transgenderness among minors’ in the city.

Two months later, LGBT rights activist Nikolai Alekseyev was given a fine for such alleged ‘propaganda’, simply for holding up a banner quoting a famous Soviet actress who said ‘homosexuality is not a perversity, perverse is hockey on grass and ballet on ice’.

Since the adoption of the law, thousands of people all around the world, urging them to stop human rights abuses against LGBT people and to let the St Petersburg pride go ahead unhindered.

Last month, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe called on Russia to explain how the country intended to uphold its obligations under human rights law after the adoption of similar ‘homosexuality propaganda’ laws in several regions of the country.

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Make the most of your money when you travel

Sponsored feature: Brits can get even more for their money when traveling to some long haul destinations this summer, according to foreign currency expert Travelex
No thumbnail available

A straight guy writes to his straight male friends

David Bedrick writes a letter to his straight friends asking them to try better
No thumbnail available

AIDS documentary How to Survive a Plague to be made into a TV miniseries

ABC buys rights to Oscar nominated film about activists who fought against disease and government red tape and apathy
No thumbnail available

Damian Lewis ‘hugely embarrassed’ over Ian McKellen ‘fruity’ slur

Homeland actor said his comments about not wanting to be a 'fruity' actor who only became famous playing wizards was never meant to be in reference to Sir Ian McKellen
Sean Conroy becomes baseball's first ever openly gay professional player

Sean Conroy becomes baseball's first ever openly gay professional player

His teammates wore rainbow bands and socks to support him
No thumbnail available

Music group pay tribute to gay soccer star Justin Fashanu in new video

UK group Elephants and Castles remember Justin Fashanu, the UK soccer player who made history, and enemies, when he came out as gay while still playing in the 90s
No thumbnail available

Florida Family Action launch lawsuits to try and halt same-sex marriages

The conservative group have targeted three elected state officials who have said that they will officiate at gay weddings: ‘They’re just saying “let’s ride this wave of inevitability.”’
Spike in Russian LGBTs seeking asylum in United States

Spike in Russian LGBTs seeking asylum in United States

A record number of Russian LGBTs are seeking asylum in the United States with over 800 applications from Russian citizens during the last 12 months
No thumbnail available

St Petersburg votes for gay hate law

Local Russian politicians ignore massive European, US and global pressure to press ahead with gay gag law
No thumbnail available

Chicago's Archbishop Francis George targeted in full-page ad

Truth Wins Out's ad demanding Catholic leader's resignation will appear in Sunday's edition of the Chicago Tribune