Police in Moscow disrupted a planned
IDAHOT event and arrested 17 gay rights activists.
Activists planned to release dozens of
rainbow-colored balloons into the air to mark the International Day
Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT), held annually on May 17.
The activists' flashmob balloon release
was thwarted by crowd control police, who arrested 17 in central
Moscow, Reuters reported.
A similar gathering in St. Petersburg –
Russia's second city – went smoothly.
Lawmakers in 2013 approved a law that
prohibits “gay propaganda” to minors, effectively banning public
support for LGBT rights. Opponents of the law say it has legalized
“I can say the situation is
difficult,” an activist told
Reuters, “because members of the LGBT community face lots of
discrimination in their lives. In the professional sphere, you might
have heard about a teacher being sacked for just being a lesbian
while studying. On the street, people face violence.”