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Rainbow Flashmob Celebrates in Peace

Many people dont go out to speak about their rights, not because they dont care, but simply because they fear for their physical safety.

Published: May 23, 2014 (Issue # 1812)



  • A massive police presence helped protect the rallys participants during the May 17 event, held at the Field of Mars.
    Photo: Sergey Chernov / SPT

  • The release of 300 colored balloons into the air marked the end of the rally.
    Photo: Sergey Chernov / SPT

An annual LGBT rights rally, held to mark International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, was held without incident on May 17 at the Field of Mars, although attacks took place before and after the event. Over 200 people turned up for Rainbow Flashmob, an event held annually in St. Petersburg since 2009, to celebrate the removal of the word homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1990 and to remind the public of LGBT rights violations.

Our goal was to head to the streets for the [LGBT] community, as this date is very important, and we wanted to make sure all felt secure during the event, said Sasha Semyonova, a coordinator with the LGBT rights organization Vykhod (Coming Out).

Many people dont go out to speak about their rights, not because they dont care, but simply because they fear for their physical safety. So we wanted to create a space where the police would be able to perform their job well, with every possible measure of security provided so that the participants would not be harmed. This has been the most peaceful event since this rally started in 2009. There were no attacks during the Rainbow Flashmob and no one was injured.

The massive police presence of more than 20 large OMON riot police trucks parked near the Field of Mars, as well as approximately 200 regular police and OMON police on site, helped protect the rallys participants.

A number of left-wing activists from the Russian Socialist Movement (RSD) and supporters of Autonomous Action, an anarchist group, as well as civil and human rights activists, also came to support the event, holding placards and helping stand guard.

We took part because we believe that the fight against homophobia and discrimination of any kind is extremely important, especially today and especially in Russia, said Vladimir Plotnikov, an activist with RSD.

Xenophobia [and homophobia] is bait that the authorities and oligarchs use to catch ordinary people. While they make profits, the people beat each other over fictitious problems.

The rainbow-colored event saw people holding 300 colored balloons and rainbow flags, which were handed out by the organizers. Also handed out were placards with quotes such as, We are for love, People are not a fence; you cant paint them in one color, Guys, lets live as friends and Stop! Homophobia.

Lasting 20 minutes, the rally ended with participants releasing balloons in the air before heading off in rented buses that were to take them to undisclosed metro stations so as not to be attacked near the site.

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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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