MAY 1ST CELEBRATIONS: FESTIVITIES IN SAINT PETERSBURG, ATTACKS IN MOSCOW

Published: May 3, 2014

In Saint Petersburg more than 300 people participated in the “rainbow column” of the Democratic March on May, 1st. “Love takes over war”, “Ukraine! God in on your side”, “All rights or just driving license?”, “Rights are not given, rights are fought for!”, “Peter the I was looking at Holland. That’s a tradition. Keep it?” – these and many more slogans were flying at the March together with flags of European Union, Russia, Ukrain and LGBT movement.

Some were wearing Ukrainian wreaths with multicolor ribbons. The March proceeded peacefully. LGBT part was protected by about 50 police officers, and was headed by a figure of “Queen of gas station”, a reference to a famous Ukrainian movie of the 60s, who this time had resemblance simultaneously with two political leaders – one of Germany’s first half of 20th century’s and the other of modern Russia.

The doll was a landmark of the rainbow column, just as the last year’s dummy of Milonov, the homophobic orthodox deputy of the State Duma. This idea had been brought about by the civil activist Pyotr Voskresenskiy.

However, the media and the participants report of several provocation attempts and threats from religious bigots and orthodox extremists. These latter ones are custom to attacking activists leaving after the March accessories have been dismantled. This time though a different approach was employed – several minors joined the LGBT column, while the organizers recieved accusations on the basis of “Mizulina law”, threatening with millions rubles of fines. March organizers were quick to stop the provocation. Some participants would argue that several police officers were insisting on removing the LGBT symbolics, albeit not too actively. Indeed, to accomplish this it would have taken to detain all the participants of the March.

Attempts to disrupt the column were later performed at the meeting at the Mars field. They were stopped by the police. The footage is available from Nevex.TV, who call themselves “the last independent media in the country”.

In Moscow the March with participation of LGBT activists, that started after 3 pm, was accompanied with unprecedented number of attacks and provocations. All of them were organized by so called “orthodox activists”, according to social media coverage, and those have been known for their attempts to disrupt the cultural and social LGBT events, and cases of embroilment in Moscow theaters and on other public platforms.

Provocators holding christian icons were breaking into the columns and were attacking participants with rainbow symbolics. According to the project SQueer, there have been a dozen of attacks. “They push participants on the ground. Have sprayed some yuck gas. I feel dry mouth, I cough…” – says the rights activist Andrey Nasonov in his blog (link in Russian >>). Shortly before he witnessed a “provocator (a bearded short man) attacked the LGBT column and the police. Literally smashed officer’s face. Was arrested.”

“Labor rights for all”, “LGBT activism – for freedom for you and for us!”, “Stop homophobia” – these and other slogans were flying in the LGBT column in Moscow, together with rainbow flags and umbrellas.

Not too popular (around 10 people) but still noticeable was the participation of Murmansk LGBT team “Maximum”. Flashy LGBT banners were put aside, still one of the slogans – “Heterosexualism is not by choice” speaks for itself. The local media stresses both these slogans and the fact that the action was approved by the authorities (“… in the same column as the anarchists, United Russia members and labor unions”).

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