A Moscow gay couple say that they were detained by local police after trying to leave flowers and a placard saying ‘Love wins’ on the steps of the US embassy in Moscow.
They say police accused them of an ‘administrative offence’ and detained them for three hours before releasing them. They are waiting to hear whether they are going to be charged with any offence.
The couple said that they wanted to pay their respects to the memory of those killed in the gun attack on an LGBT club in Moscow.
‘We know about the terrorist attack in the United States. We were in shock. And we decided to go to the embassy with flowers and candles and a poster,’ Felix Glyukman told SBS.
‘There were many people and many flowers and candles. When we come to put poster on the ground, the policeman, he grabbed the poster and told us we must leave, but Islam [Abdullabeckov] said we didn’t want to and [the officer] grabbed him, and put us in the car.’
Felix actually took a photo of himself in the back of the police car and posted it to his Facebook.
Felix says that he and Islam do not understand why they were singled out for detentions when others were also leaving flowers and placards.
‘This is very strange, and very sad, I think.’
Islam posted a message to his page informing friends that they had been released and thanking them for their support.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has denounced the attack on the LGBT Pulse nightclub in Florida, in which 49 people were killed, as ‘a barbaric crime’.
However, gay people in Russia face widespread discrimination across society, with few legal protections. LGBT Pride marches are routinely refused permission to go ahead, and in 2013 a ‘propaganda’ law was introduced prohibiting the promotion of non-traditional families – a measure largely seen as an effort to clamp down on any public discussion of LGBTI rights.