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'Gay is Normal' Signs Get Demonstrators Arrested in St. Petersburg

Published: April 6, 2012 (Issue # 1702)



  • Activist Alexei Kiselyov being detained by police Thursday.
    Photo: GayRussia.ru

Two gay rights demonstrators were detained by police in St. Petersburg on Thursday in what could be the first case resulting from the recently passed city law banning so-called gay propaganda.

Alexei Kiselyov and Kirill Nepomnyashy were arrested outside the Palace of Youth Creativity holding signs bearing the words, "Gay is normal," police told Interfax. Police said the pair was conducting so-called one-man pickets — which do not require City Hall approval — meaning that they were not standing together or yelling slogans.

Under a St. Petersburg law that took effect last month, anyone found guilty of promoting homosexuality among minors is to be fined from 5,000 to 500,000 rubles. The law has been condemned by domestic and international human rights advocates and gay activists, and by Western governments.

A hearing scheduled for Friday will decide whether Kiselyov and Nepomnyashy will be fined for their actions.

Gay rights leader Nikolai Alekseyev said the pair's signs were simply stating scientifically accepted fact.

"There was of course no propaganda in the activists' actions. They were only trying to tell society common scientific truths about the fact that homosexuality is not an illness but a natural and normal sexual orientation," Alekseyev told GayRussia.ru.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Monday, Oct. 20


Amateur pictures from World War I are on display for only one more day at Rosphoto’s exhibition “On Both Sides,” chronicling the conflict through the eyes of observers on both sides of the trenches. The price of entrance to the exhibition is 100 rubles ($2.50).



Tuesday, Oct. 21


The Environment, Health and Safety Committee of AmCham convenes this morning at 9 a.m. in the organization’s office.


Take the chance to pick the brains of Dmitry V. Krivenok, the deputy director of the Economic Development Agency of the Leningrad region, and Mikhail D. Sergeev, the head of the Investment Projects Department, during the meeting with them this morning hosted by SPIBA. RSVP for the event by emailing office@spiba.ru before Oct. 17 if you wish to attend.


Improve your English at Interactive English, the British Book Center’s series of lessons on vocabulary and grammar in an informal atmosphere. Starting at 6 p.m., each month draws attention to different topics in English, with the topic for this month’s lessons being “visual arts.”



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