Police attempted to shut down the premiere of a documentary film about the horrors gay teens face in Russia last night (23 April) – and failed.
The film, Children-404, received its first showing at the Moscow ArtPlay Centre.
Children 404 is an online support group that publishes stories of LGBTI teens in Russia. The film interviews some of the teens in the group about their lives since the gay propaganda ban was enforced.
Around 20 minutes after the beginning of the film, 10 members of a vigilante group accompanied by police officers stormed the screening.
They carried posters saying ‘Get sodomy out of Russia’ and ‘Western depravity must end’, and shouted homophobic slurs at the audience.
The officer told the 200 people who attended the premiere that no one would be allowed to leave until all identity cards were checked.
It was alleged this was done because the vigilante group called the police telling minors were there at the screening.
The ‘gay propaganda’ ban is specifically intended to ‘protect’ children. Speaking out for gay rights is only against the law if a child might hear or see it.
A Cityboom reporter, who was there at the film premiere, said law enforcement officers checked the documents and questioned those who did not have passports.
But as there were no minors there, it meant the premiere organizers were not breaking any Russian laws.
Elena Klimova, the founder of the Children-404 online support group, said: ‘People who came to disrupt the show left with nothing.
‘We watched a movie and had a discussion. That was all.’