Nikolai Aleskeev, Russian LGBT rights advocate, has been arrested for his part in organizing a gay rights march this morning.
The activist posted a photo to his Facebook page where he and a group of protesters were under police custody in the back of a police van.
Aleskeev spoke with Gay Star News yesterday about the potential harm gay rights activists faced in today’s gay rights march, especially after Moscow city authorities explicitly banned the march from taking place.
Aleskeev said: ‘Anti-gay protesters will definitely show up in big numbers are likely to physically assault Moscow pride participants.
‘LGBT events are being banned all over Russia and parliament is planning to pass a nationwide law banning the so-called “propaganda of homosexuality”.’
The Russian government also sent Aleskeev two written warnings over the past 24 hours, declaring that protestors would be fine and jailed for up to 15 days for ‘unsanctioned protests’ against Russia’s gay gag law.
‘This is the eighth year in a row we are trying to peacefully conduct Moscow Pride, but this time we face unprecedented pressure in terms of laws, bans and threats.
Aleskeev also received a letter from the European Court of Human Rights yesterday, denying his request to intervene with the Russian government for protection.
Aleskeev said: ‘If me or someone else is killed or injured in Moscow Pride on Saturday 25 May then the blood will also be on the hands of the Head of European Court of Human Rights and [its] judges.’
Aleskeev was unable to offer any updates as to the progress of the march at the time of his arrest. Yury Gavirkov, considered one of Russia’s most prominent gay rights activists next to Aleskeev, wrote to GSN naming Elena Kostyuchenko, Nikokai Alekseev, Nikolay Gavrikov, Anna Annenkova, Cyril Alexander Nepomnyashchiy as the other individuals now under arrest by Moscow authorities.
Approximately 30 LGBT rights activists and opponents demonstrating at different rallys today in Moscow have been arrested.