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LGBT Protesters Bring Charges Against Police

Published: January 23, 2014 (Issue # 1794)



  • Police arrest LGBT rights activists at the Oct. 12, 2013 International Coming Out Day rally.
    Photo: Sergey Chernov / SPT

Ten LGBT rights activists are suing the police over what they consider to have been illegal detentions during an attempted International Coming Out Day rally in October. The plaintiffs are seeking 250,000 rubles ($6,665) in damages each, LGBT rights organization Vykhod (Coming Out) reported. The suits were filed on Jan. 14.

The organizers of the rally, Kirill Kalugin and Natalya Tsymbalova, also filed lawsuits against the police for failing to provide security for the participants or ensuring that authorized rally go forward as planned.

The rally was due to take place on Oct. 12 but was called off due to the presence of anti-gay protesters who blocked the entrance to the designated site on the Field of Mars, where the rally had been scheduled to be held. Police were seen refusing to assist the LGBT activists in reaching the site. Several LGBT activists were assaulted by Orthodox and nationalist radicals as they tried to reach the enclosure reserved for protests.

You may also be interested in: Coming Out Day Ends in Fights, Arrests

Twenty-five LGBT rights activists and 40 anti-gay protesters were detained and taken to police stations.

Following the arrests, 15 activists were charged with disorderly conduct, while ten were released within three hours without charges being pressed.

According to Ksenia Kirichenko, who heads Vykhod's Legal Aid program, seven of the ten activists who filed the lawsuits were acquitted of all charges, while three were found guilty and received fines of 500 to 700 rubles ($15-$21).

"Our main demand is that the police's actions, primarily the detentions, be declared illegal because those arrested people essentially detained for nothing and accused of crimes they did not commit," Kirichenko said.

You may also be interested in: Anna Anisimova: Coming Out For Human Rights

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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