Video of the moment when four activists were arrested during a protest at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport against Aeroflot’s anti-gay practices has now been released.
The Russian LGBT campaigners were angry after the country’s leading airline forced a gay flight attendant, Maxim Kupreev, to enter a sham straight marriage in order to keep his job.
Kupreev had angered Aeroflot’s bosses by trying to start a gay staff network within the company.
Gay Star News helped break the news about Kupreev and reported on the ‘day of action’ at Sheremetyevo Airport yesterday (9 February) which marked Aeroflot’s 89th birthday.
We now have footage of all the activities, some filmed on a hidden camera, including the moment the protesters were arrested.
The action started with the unveiling of a 20 metre by 10 metre banner, designed to be seen from the air, at the end of the runway. It greeted passengers landing during the lunchtime rush-hour with a Twitter-style message calling for ‘Equal rights for Aeroflot gays’.
It also called for the resignation of airline boss Vitaliy Saveliev.
After leaving the banner unfurled at the end of the runway, they took their protest into the terminal where they can be seen mingling with often bemused passengers while security staff initially look on.
Once inside the demonstrators called for a boycott of not only Aeroflot, but its codeshare partners within the SkyTeam group, including Air France, KLM and US carrier Delta. Mocking the airline for the Kupreev incident, they referred to the SkyTeam partnership as a ‘sham marriage’.
They have also demanded a public apology by Aeroflot to its gay flight attendant Kupreev and that the airline set-up an LGBT employee group. In an article in the leading Russian tabloid, MK, yesterday the company maintained an LGBT staff group is not needed as it has no gay employees.
The protesters were then arrested and taken to a police station where they were detained for several hours.
Nikolai Alekseev, one of the protesters, later tweeted: ‘We are all released from police custody at Sheremetyevo airport. Thanks to everyone who supported!’
Watch the video (in Russian) here: