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LGBT Rights Event to Be Held Against Advice of Authorities

Published: May 16, 2014 (Issue # 1810)



  • Gay rights activist Alexander Yermoshkin, left, campaigning against LGBT discrimination last May.
    Photo: Facebook

Khabarovsk gay rights activist Alexander Yermoshkin said a sanctioned action for the International Day Against Homophobia on Saturday will go on despite local authorities urging him not to hold the event.

Yermoshkin said last week that city authorities had agreed to his request to allow him and up to 100 people release colored balloons into the sky to demonstrate against all forms of discrimination, including anti-LGBT discrimination.

On Thursday, however, the city administration called the activist in and gave him a letter recommending that he not hold the event in light of the "large societal resonance" about the event and "possible difficulties in implementing security."

City authorities further distanced themselves from Yermoshkin's event in a statement reported by local media outlet Amur Press, in which authorities said the organizers of the event had "distorted the aims of the action" in their application.

The statement continued by saying that city authorities were only obliged to document that they had received notice of the event, and that organizers had been misleading the public by saying they had been given a permit to hold the balloon release.

Yermoshkin, who was fired from his teaching job in the wake of last year's law banning gay propaganda among minors, confirmed to The St. Petersburg Times on Thursday by phone that he planned to continue with the event. He said authorities had acknowledged the legality of the balloon release and were most likely looking out for their own "legal safety" with recent statements.

The "societal resonance" that prompted authorities to issue the recommendation to Yermoshkin may reference the campaign by Khabarovsk region Public Chamber member Sergei Pleshakov to cancel the event.

A Change.org petition telling Khabarovsk Mayor Alexander Sokolov that the event would violate the anti-gay propaganda law had gathered more than 2,000 online signatures as of Thursday, though it is unclear how many of the signatures are from Khabarovsk residents.

Authorities' concerns about security in their recommendation against the event may stem from disruption of last year's May meeting by a local fascist-inspired group, Stoltz Khabarovsk, and discussion of this year's event on anti-gay social network pages. Yermoshkin said that he has already had an unofficial conversation with police about security for May 17.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Aug. 28


Learn more about the citys upcoming municipal elections during the presentation of the project Road Map for the Municipal Elections being presented this evening in the conference hall on the third floor of Biblioteka at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. Steve Kaddins, a coordinator for Beautiful St. Petersburg, which gives residents an online forum to lodge complaints about infrastructure problems in the city, will be on hand to answer any questions. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and is open to all.



Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



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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