Hundreds marched in Vienna to show their support for the gay men detained in Chechnya on Friday evening (21 April).
The procession marched through central Vienna, past some of the city’s most famous sights like the Staatsoper and the Hofburg.
— Milica Miletic (@MilitzaMiletic) April 21, 2017
Attendees carried not just signs and placards, but also a large banner of international flags, as well as the rainbow flag.
Some of the protestors carried a sign listing the names of all 100 men detained.
They were protesting the arrests, detention, torture, and killings of gay men in Chechnya.
According to Austrian LGBTI portal GGG, nearly 1,000 people attended the march.
It ended in a rally outside the Austrian Parliament, with speeches by leading figures including journalist Susanne Scholl, formerly Moscow correspondent for Austria’s public broadcaster ORF.
— The Apex Archive (@apex_archive) April 21, 2017
During her time in Moscow, Scholl herself was arrested while reporting in Chechnya.
In her speech she called for international pressure on Russia and Chechnya, as Chechen politics were made in Moscow and not in the republic itself.
Marty Huber, spokesperson for LGBTI refugee support organization Queer Base, demanded Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka make it easier for LGBTI refugees from Chechnya to be granted asylum.
‘Solidarity is a weapon,’ Huber said.
‘Let’s use it.’
She also brought along a powerful speech recorded by gay men who fled Chechnya for Austria.
The march even got support from Austria’s most powerful politician.
Christian Kern couldn’t attend, but Federal Councilor Ewa Dziedzic – representing the Green Party – read out a message from the Chancellor.
‘Today’s event is an important sign against the reported courtse of action which is inacceptable, unbelievable and against all human rights,’ he said.
‘Our solidarity is with those affected.’