Apr 072012
Protestor PHOTO Maria Kozlovskaya

Today, 7th of April at 12.00 in front of the Oktyabrsky concert hall a series of single person pickets were carried out. The pickets were dedicated to the Day of Silence. 7 people with sealed mouths took their turns protesting against discrimination and violence against LGBT, against homophobia of the government which silenced and outlawed LGBT community.

Two protesters were arrested for “propaganda of sodomy and lesbianism”.

Vague wording of the law made police think over and discuss each slogan deciding whether it were a violation of the law or not. Finally they decided that only slogans of Igor Kochetkov, chairman of the Russian LGBT network: “No to silencing of the hate crimes against gays and lesbians” and Sergey Kondrashov, lawyer: “The friend of our family is a lesbian. My wife and I love and respect her, her way of life as normal as ours, and her family is socially equal to ours”. Some days ago Sergey Kondrashov wrote an open letter in the name of heterosexual majority to deputy Milonov which was signed by more than 1600 people.

Both men arrested are now in the 76 police department of Saint Petersburg.

Apart from the banners with slogans there were pictures of the famous poet Tsvetaeva and composer Tchaikovsky with quotes from their poems and letters which proved their homosexual love. Earlier one of the advertising agencies refused to put those banners in the city center on the advertisement stands fearing the fine of half a million rubles (equal of about 13 thousand euros). Around 30 people applauded to brave picketing people expressing their solidarity and respect.

«This is amazing that the police officers not only ignore hate crimes against gays and lesbians but also arrest those people who attract attention to this problem on the grounds of “propoganda”, – the manager of LGBT organization “Coming Out” and coordinator of the Week against Homophobia in Saint Petersburg, Mikhail Belodedov,- We keep in touch with the arrested ones and monitoring situation”.

Around 5 o’clock in the evening both detainees were reseased. The court hearing is scheduled for Monday, April 9.