Six gay activists were arrested
Saturday attempting to hold an unsanctioned gay pride rally in St.
About 30 gay rights activists gathered
in a public courtyard within the city's State Hermitage Museum and
chanted “Homophobia the shame of the country” and “Marriage
rights without compromises.”
Police quickly swooped in to collar six
people, who offered little resistance.
The demonstration comes after St.
Petersburg officials followed in the steps of three other Russian
cities – Moscow, Tambov and Ryazan – in banning such
demonstrations, gay newssite UKGayNews.org.uk
Two applications by the St. Petersburg
Gay Pride committee outlining six separate parade routes were
rejected by authorities. But on Thursday, City Hall OK'd a
demonstration to be held on the same day by the group Molodaya, the
youth wing of the United Russia party helmed by Prime Minister
Maria Efremenkova, who heads the
committee, called the city's moves “a joke”
“The march that is being permitted is
against the rights of LGBT people throughout Russia,” she said.
Keeping the event's location under
wraps except to the media, organizers attempted to recreate last
10-minute demonstration in Moscow that ended without arrests.
“This is outrageous that police
stopped us and they didn't give us a chance to speak about the
violation of our rights,” Nikolai Alexeyev, who heads Russia's
fledgling gay rights movement, told the AP.
Organizers complained that no foreign
nation came to their aid after the city banned their demonstration,
including the United States and Great Britain.
“We are extremely disappointed by the
attitude of foreign diplomacies [sic],” Efremenkova said in
explaining that her organization had appealed to 12 foreign embassies
for a statement of support.
Some media is reporting that
Efremenkova was among those detained by police.
This is the first year gay rights
organizers had attempted to hold a rally in St.Petersburg, Russia's
second most populous city after Moscow.