LGBT rally in Russia to honor victims of hate crimes

Published: May 16, 2013

LGBT activists in Russia announced that a May 17 rally in St. Petersburg will focus on victims of homophobic hate crimes, including Vladislav Tornovoy, who was raped with a beer bottle, stabbed and beaten to death in Volgograd last week, apparently because he was gay.  Here is the announcement of the rally:

IDAHO RALLY WILL COMMEMORATE VICTIMS OF HOMOPHOBIC HATE CRIMES

The annual St. Petersburg International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia rally will take place tomorrow, May 17, at 2 pm on Marsovo Pole – the “Hyde Park” of St. Petersburg, in the city center. Traditionally, a joyful celebration of our pride, during which we release rainbow balloons in the air as a symbol of our wish for a world free of homophobia and transphobia, this year’s event will be dedicated to the memory of Vladislav Tornovoy, brutally murdered in Volgograd on May 9th of this year, and to all victims of homophobic hate crimes.
Vladislav Tornovoy (Photo courtesy of Gayrva.com)

Vladislav Tornovoy (Photo courtesy of Gayrva.com)

In recent months, regions of Russia have been rapidly adopting the infamous “propaganda of homosexuality” laws, inscribing discrimination of LGBT into law and leading to growing violence against LGBT in society. Vladislav’s murderers are allegedly trying to justify their actions by victim’s assumed sexual orientation “offending their patriotic feelings”. Members of extreme right groups refer to propaganda laws in their calls to violence. Yet, to this day, not a single homophobic crime in Russia has been qualified as hate crime, and LGBT is not officially recognized as a “social group”. Tomorrow we want to say loudly and clearly NO to homophobic violence, NO to hate crimes against LGBT, and NO to homophobic politics.

The rally will take place despite numerous threats from members of extreme right and clerical organizations, such as the “Russian joggers” (Russkaya probezhka) and  the “People’s Council” (Narodny sobor). At last year’s IDAHO rally, around 100 counter-protesters showed up to intimidate and attack the participants. Organizers hope that tomorrow’s rally, permitted by city authorities, will have sufficient police presence to protect the participants. Other safety measures have also been taken.

The rally is planned to last one hour, with members of wider civil society and human rights organizations of St. Petersburg addressing the participants, after which, black and rainbow balloons will be launched into air. A minute of silence in memory of the victims of homophobic hate crimes will be observed.

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