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Gay Activists Protest During G20 Summit

Published: September 11, 2013 (Issue # 1777)



  • The face of intolerance in Russia includes clerics and nationalists who pelted demonstrators with loose change. 
    Photo: Sergey Chernov / SPT

Two dozen LGBT rights activists came to the Fields of Mars on Friday, Sept. 6, the second and final day of the G20 summit, to draw attention to what they see as continued human rights violations in Russia. Despite the more than 100 anti-gay protesters who also came to the site, the police prevented attacks by restraining them at a safe distance behind two OMON riot police cordons and fences.

The protesters, directed by an Orthodox priest dressed in vestments and wearing a cross, sang hymns and threw coins at the LGBT demonstrators. But unlike the St. Petersburg LGBT Pride event, whose participants were attacked, pelted with stones and eggs and eventually arrested when held on the same site on June 29, the authorities allowed the demonstrators to hold their one-hour rally in full.

According to LGBT activist Kirill Kalugin, who filed an application with City Hall to hold the event officially known as a Call for objective distribution of information regarding the issue of human rights in the Russian Federation, he was surprised when the authorities allowed the protest to proceed, despite the increased security measures in the city due to the G20 Leaders Summit.

The protest was held at 1 p.m., hours before a meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian human rights activists that included representatives of the LGBT community.

Kalugin, a 21-year-old student at the Polytechnic University, became known for holding a one-man protest on Palace Square during celebrations of Russian Airborne Troops Day on Aug. 2, when he unfolded a rainbow banner reading This is promotion of tolerance and was attacked by uniformed veteran paratroopers within seconds. He also held a placard reading Sodom to every home during the St. Petersburg LGBT Pride event on June 29.

At the Friday protest, Kalugin, who held placard reading Politics are Here, Not in Strelna (the location in south-western St. Petersburg where the G20 summit was held), said the activists wanted to address the international community. They also wanted to counter President Vladimir Putins assertion that there was no discrimination of LGBT people in Russia, made during a recent interview with the Associated Press and the Rossiya-1 television channel.

Nikolai Strumentov, an official with the Committee on Law, Order and Security who represented City Hall at the site told Kalugin to put away the placards written in English on the grounds that he (Strumentov) does not speak English. The protesters then wrote Russian translations on the back of their posters but after a while turned them again so that the English-language slogans could be seen.

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Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Centers Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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