Russian police intimidate LGBT activists

Staunton, October 14 – Police in St. Petersburg told a group of LGBT activists attempting to hold a demonstration in the northern capital that Cossacks, Orthodox and Muslim clergy, and other opposed to homosexuality would beat them so badly that the gay group would “not be able to stand up again before the [Sochi] Olympics,” according to

On Saturday, the Alliance of Heterosexuals for LGBT Equality and the Out organization planned to hold a demonstration in St. Petersburg’s Field of Mars in support of gay rights and opposition to homophobia and other forms of discrimination. Because that locale is an analogue to Hyde Park, city officials did not raise objections (
An hour before the meeting was to occur, the police sealed off the space saying that they had received information about “possible clashes” between the LGBT activists and “supporters of traditional sexual relations.” As’s Nikita Zeya put it, that “information was confirmed.”
Thirty minutes before the protest was to start, some 30 Cossacks aged 18 to 25, accompanied by other young people in camouflage dress with nationalist slogans of the type “I am a Russian,” appeared. They totaled about a hundred in all, the journalist said.
The Cossack commander, a Colonel Chernyshev, said that the Duma had passed and President Vladimir Putin had signed the law prohibiting “the propaganda of homosexuality” and that whenever LGBT activists challenge it, “we are obligated to stand up in defense of the law!” His views were reiterated by a Russian Orthodox priest and a mullah.