An LGBT Pride event was scheduled for today (4 August) in St. Petersburg, Russia. However, Russian authorities refused to permit the festivities and arrested 30 activists upon their arrival to Palace Square.
Yevgenia Litvinova, a Russian activist in attendance, shared what happened for the Russian Reader.
The protest was scheduled for 12:34 PM at Palace Square in St. Petersburg. When the group arrived, the Square was completely closed off and surrounded by police officers.
‘I got held up, and when I got to the square, Alexei Sergeyev had already been detained,’ Yevgenia explained.
‘Then Alek Naza (Alexei Nazarov) was detained: he had no placard, only a rainbow flag. Before that 28 more people had been detained. That is a total of 30 people detained for trying to hold solo pickets [which, according to Russian law, can be held without permission and without notifying authorities in advance]. There are minors among them. Some have been taken to the 74th Police Precinct (in particular, Alexander Khmelyov), while a third group is still being held in a paddy wagon, as far as I know.’
‘Six of the people detained on Palace Square were dropped off at the 69th Police Precinct at 30/3 Marshal Zhukov Avenue, including Yuri Gavrikov, Alexei Sergeyev, and Tanya (Era) Sichkaryova. One of the detainees is an underaged girl. We have refused to be fingerprinted and photographed.’
‘I am very tired of the discrimination and the thought that I’m not allowed to walk out and say I feel bad about it. My country doesn’t want to hear that I feel bad, it doesn’t care,’ one activist called Sobi told EuroNews.
Up until 1993, homosexuality was considered a crime in Russia. In 2013, the Russian government banned the distribution of so-called ‘gay propaganda.’
Back in June, Russian police officers briefly detained LGBTI activist Peter Tatchell after he protested for LGBTI rights near the Kremlin.