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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

Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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