Russian Gay Rights Rallies End in 8 Arrests


Russian authorities, making use of St. Petersburg’s ban on the promotion of homosexuality, have once again broken up efforts to hold gay rights demonstrations, reportedly arresting eight protesters this weekend.

Reports the San Francisco Chronicle:

Three rally organizers were arrested Saturday at a park in Russia’s second city, and five others were detained at a later rally attempt near the landmark Smolny complex, Russian news agencies reported.

Only six people showed up for the second rally, and the three arrested at the first attempt were the only participants.

St. Petersburg’s administration signed into law in February a ban on the “promotion of homosexuality” in the public sphere, supposedly to protect minors. For breaking this law there is a fine of 5,000 rubles ($170) for individuals, and for officials 50,000 rubles ($1,725). The fine for legal entities is 500,000 rubles ($17,250).

These arrests come after permission to hold demonstrations in other cities was revoked, supposedly because the authorities had received word that demonstrations might also occur in St. Petersburg, contrary to the local ban.

Reports Ria Novosti:

“The goal of the event is to attract the attention of the public and the authorities to violations of civil rights of the LGBT community and to the need to pass legislation prohibiting discrimination over sexual orientation. But according to information in the press, the organizers of the event plan to hold the third gay pride parade in St. Petersburg,” the city committee on law and security said in a statement.

According to the authorities, residents of the city believe this event is “aimed at promoting homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender practices among minors.” That is why the permission has been revoked; authorities received “many phone calls and e-mails both from St. Petersburg and other Russian cities with requests to cancel the gay pride parade.”

LGBT rights groups point out that the authorities seem to have used a belief that a protest may happen in St. Petersburg to ban citizens from protesting in other regions–that other territories are in essence borrowing the chilling effect from St. Petersburg’s ban without even having passed legislation of their own.

The Russian courts have prosecuted at least one person under the law, but they have also noted that the law is extremely vague in its idea of what constitutes an offense, which seems to be any and all protestation to do with LGBT rights, something that runs in direct defiance of EU human rights standards.

The European Union has already adopted a resolution “strongly” condemning the law.

The Russian Duma, urged on by the religious orthodoxy, has now moved to take up a national ban similar to those found in St Petersburg, Siberia, and other territories.


Related Reading:

First Russian is Convicted Under Gay Propaganda Ban

Rainbow Flags Get 17 May Day Marchers Arrested in Russia

Siberia Passes Anti-Gay Propaganda Law


Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to It's Holly.


Donna B.
Donna B5 years ago

Still living behind The Iron Curtain, I see. I feel so sorry for The People of Russia.

Carl Oerke
Carl O5 years ago

Russia remains the land of freedom and liberty it was during the Stalin Administration. Nothing much has changed there. I will say that I admire the protestors courage for trying to change the repressive environment and facing such fierce opposition. May it help them to know that that even though they are under attack they are on the moral high ground and that all members of a society deserve the same respect and rights as all others in the society.

Susan Diane
Susan Diane5 years ago

Russia might as well be behind the iron curtain again. Still lots to do for LGBTQ activists all over the world.

Veronica C.
Veronica C5 years ago

Not much of a turnout in protesters.

Elizabeth L.
Elizabeth L5 years ago

Joseph. Keep your bigotry out of others lives. This is the attitude that Russia is promoting and the attitude that causes teenage suicides and homelessness in the LGBT youth

Mari Garcia
Mari Garcia5 years ago

Joseph, is it because you secretly wish to have sex with a man and angry at those who have the balls to do it? We don't need laws that represent 1412, we need laws that represent 2012, you know, the time with science that proves being gay is natural and the earth is round.

John B.
John B5 years ago

Thanks Steve for the update on the LBGTQ rights situation in Russia. I have no doubts the LBGTQ activists will not be deterred in their efforts to obtain their human rights and acceptance. The fight may take a long time but they will prevail.

Winn Adams
Winn A5 years ago

I feel like it's the 12th century back in Russia for people who are LGBT. Keeping this in the media surely will be of some help.

Jen Matheson
Past Member 5 years ago

This is terrible. He needs to be put out of power and fast!

Patricia Garcia Ces
Patricia Ces5 years ago

It's certainly still the Middle Ages!!