On April 24, premiere of the documentary “Children 404″, dedicated to the fate of Russian LGBT teenagers, scheduled for 7:30pm at the Moscow Artplay Centre was disrupted by people who presented themselves as members of vigilante group, backed by police. A policeman blocked the exit, as vigilantes with St. George ribbons and posters saying “Western depravity won’t pass ” were checking IDs and seeking minors among the spectators.
There were about ten people in the vigilantes group. Closer to 9pm to help them came more policemen armed with machine guns. About 200 people came to the premiere, and no one was let out, Cityboom reports.
“Children 404″ is a film by directors Askold Kurov and Pavel Loparev produced under “Cinema verite”, a joint project of Colta.ru and Heinrich Boell Foundation. The film itself is named after the “Vkontakte” group, bringing together adolescents who suffer from social and state oppression of sexual minorities. St. Petersburg MP Vitaly Milonov tried to close the group down. The film was shot in a semi-secret setting and with the help of international crowd-funding. The international premiere is scheduled for April 28 in Toronto.
Cityboom reporter said that at the entrance there were grandmothers with Orthodox Christian icons and police, along with an investigator. Everyone was told that spectators would be let out only after ID checks. Nevertherless, discussion of the film continued. Later police checked the IDs of the audience, looking for minors and writing down passport data of some people. A woman in casual wear gave guidance to the police officers. Those who presented their IDs, were let out, and people tried to go in groups, fearing an attack. According to the organizers of the show, policemen seized a copy of the film. Human rights activists from “Memorial” organization arrived later, but the provocateurs who initiated the swoop had already left.