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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

Friday, Sept. 19


SPIBAs newest addition to their Cultural Discoveries events is Handmade in Germany, an exhibition featuring unique handmade objects of a significantly higher quality than mass-produced items. The work of over 100 German manufacturers will be displayed during the event, which opens today in the Lutheran Church of Saint Peter and Paul on Nevsky Prospekt and runs through Sept. 28.



Saturday, Sept. 20


Starting on Sept. 18 and ending tomorrow is the Extreme Fantasy Wakeboarding Festival in Sunpark by Sredny Suzdalskoye lake in the Ozerki region of the city.


Those after something more laid back can instead head to Jazz and Wine night at TerraVino with legendary jazz guitarist Ildar Kazahanov. 12/14 Admiralteyskaya Emb.



Sunday, Sept. 21


Learn more about African culture and get some exercise during todays Djembe and Vuvuzela, a bike ride starting in Palace Square that includes several stops where riders can listen to the music of Africa or watch short films about the continent. The riders plan to set off at 4 p.m. and all you need to join is a set of wheels.



Monday, Sept. 22


Do you love puppetry? If so, then be sure to go to BTK-Fest, a five-day festival that starts on Sept. 19 celebrating the art. Contemporaries from France, Belgium, the U.K. and other countries will join Russian artists to put on theatrical performances involving a variety of themes, materials and eras. Workshops and meetings are also scheduled for a chance to discuss the artistic medium in further depth.



Tuesday, Sept. 23


Marina Suhih, Director of the External Communications Department at Rostelecom North-West, and Yana Donskaya, HR Director for Northern Capital Gateway are just some of the confirmed participants of todays round table discussion on Interaction with Trade Unions being hosted by SPIBA. Confirm your attendance with SPIBA by Sept. 22.


Kino Expo 2014, an international film industry convention, will be at LenExpo from today until Sept. 26. The third largest exhibition of film equipment in the world, the expo focuses on not only Russia but former Soviet republics as well.



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