Fifth gay pride event on the Champ de Mars in St. Petersburg on July 26 passed without major incidents.The event was organized by the LGBT community of the city, declared in accordance with the federal law on holding public events, the city administration gave sanction to hold the event.
As one of the organizers, Yuri Gavrikov, head of the LGBT organization “Equality”, told REGNUM, the activists wanted to hold a march, but they had been denied to do so.
The event was secured by police, which accompanied the activists from the subway, and after the event led them to buses used to take the participants to the nearest subway, but many walked on foot.
During the rally, which was attended by at least 150 people and took place in the hot sun, activists talked about the need to respect civil rights and thanked the police for protection of the event, talking about “how important it is to be free in a not so free country,” activist Valery Sozaev also spoke about HIV and AIDS. There were not only representatives of the LGBT community, in particular the representative of the feminist movement came to the event. One of the members of the LGBT movement Kirill Kalugin brought a torn rainbow flag, which was used in the rally last year, not as peaceful as today.
One of the protesters, Eugene Pirozhkov, was holding a placard “Sodomy is sweeter than honey” and was detained by police after refusing to roll the poster and so he was taken to the police bus. The poster graphics included some Christian symbols. Pirozhkov was accused of violating the “gay propaganda” ban law. Another young man, who was not a representative of the LGBT community, has been removed from the venue by police at the request of the organizers, as he handed out leaflets with nationalistic themes.
Acitivists also report several provocations. Before the start of the event, an unknown man and woman led some children to the venue and photographed them. The children were then put to stand near the fence around the venue. Later, a member of the Board of “St. Petersburg Observers” Alexey Belozerov, who also tried to photograph those children, was arrested because according to police he photographed children without their parents’ permission.
In 2013, a similar event also took place on the Champ de Mars, but ended up in mass detention of members of the LGBT community and their numerous opponents who put up a fight.
Photos by Dmitry Musolin, Masha Gelman