A Russian gay man was brutally attacked during an IDAHOT protest earlier today (17 May).
Alexander Ermoshkin, along with several others, attempted to hold a ‘Rainbow Over Cupid’ event. They were hoping to release a rainbow of balloons over the city of Khabarovsk to fight against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.
But as soon as they were preparing to fill the balloons, two males approached the group from behind.
Grabbing one of the gas canisters, they bashed Ermoshkin on the back of his head. He fell immediately to the ground, unconscious.
The two attackers then fled, calling them homophobic slurs.
Michael Fedorchenko, an eyewitness, told Radio Liberty, said: ‘It was minutes after we had got out of the van and we were just unloading the balloons. We went past a man who grabbed the canister and threw it at Alexander.
‘I ran to help, but it was too late. He was hit on the back of his head.’
Ermoshkin was immediately rushed to hospital where doctors diagnosed him with a serious concussion.
Writing on Facebook, the victim said: ‘Friends, it’s hard to answer everyone right now, it’s getting worse, I will probably turn off the computer and go to sleep.’
The activists have spoken to the police who say they will investigate.
Earlier this week, the mayor’s office told the LGBTI rights activists that holding an IDAHOT event was ‘not recommended’.
This isn’t the last time Ermoshkin has faced homophobia. He used to work as a geography teacher in the city but was fired over the ‘gay propaganda’ law.
Since then, he has been appealing the decision. He is also hoping for Russia to pass a law that protects LGBTI people from discrimination in their jobs.