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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 а 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

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 today’s Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nation’s 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 city’s 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 Dolan’s 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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