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Russian LGBTI activist detained at St Petersburg Pride

Anna Grabetskaya volunteered at the Russian LGBTI Network answering calls on the crisis hotline and helping people in need

Russian LGBTI activist detained at St Petersburg Pride
Russian LGBTI activist Anna Grabetskaya was detained in St Petersburg for holding a rainbow flag and a sign saying 'I love my wife'.

Russian LGBTI activists are concerned about one of their peers who police detained at the recent Saint-Petersburg Pride Event.

Anna Grabetskaya was detained on Saturday at the event which marred by far-right and pro-government protestors.

The Russian LGBT Network said Grabetskaya was holding a solitary picket on the day. She was holding rainbow flag and a poster saying ‘I love my wife’. After she tried to take a few steps police detained her.

Grabetskaya was a volunteer at the Network’s crisis hotline for two years.

Police told her wife, Maria Kozlovskaya, that Grabetskaya could face up to 10 days in detention, but she could be released on Monday.

Police said the long-time LGBTI activist ignored their warnings after she was given ’10 minutes to cease her unlawful actions’.

The Russian LGBTI network claimed a video of her arrest showed Grabetskaya ‘made only a few steps and did not resist the arrest’. She was detained for disobedience to the police force and violation of the procedure for conducting a public event.

While in detention Grabetskaya got sick and three police officers took her to hospital. Doctors said she did not have a serious condition and was taken back to the police station.

Biggest pride march in years

Despite protestors and a strong police presence this year’s St Petersburg Pride Event was one of its best.

About 100 people turned up, which organizers said was one of the biggest crowds since 2010.

‘Everyone has his own reason to come to the pride,’ Sveta, a lesbian activist told Moscow Times.

‘Many of my friends didn’t come because they were afraid to be discriminated at work, to lose their job or get expelled from university.’

Earlier this year the European Court of Human Rights fined Russia for continually blocking LGBTI activists from holding a pride event in St Petersburg. The ECHR ordered Russia to pay activists  €27,500 in damages.

The Russian government introduced a ‘gay propaganda’ law in 2013. It prevents people from spreading information which could be interpreted as pro-LGBTI propaganda.

The law has pushed the LGBTI community further to the margins and they face increasing discrimination and persecution.


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