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“We are love”: Russian LGBT and feminist activists attacked

This week, LGBT activists in St Petersburg and feminists in Krasnodar were threatened and attacked.

12 August: a participant in the Petersburg LGBT march holds a sign "we are love". Source: Zags.ru. All rights reserved to the author.

We continue our partnership with OVD-Info, an NGO that monitors politically-motivated arrests in Russia. Every Friday, we bring you the latest information on freedom of assembly. 

On 12 August, an LGBT pride action was held in St Petersburg. One woman was detained, while homophobes attacked journalists and activists. The police took no steps against the attackers. Young men in tracksuits sprayed pepper gas in the faces of the activists and journalists. About 10 people were injured, including journalists from Current Time, the freelance photographer David Frenkel and Fontanka correspondent Kseniya Klochkova. Three people received medical help.

Later on the VKontakte page Straight Edge | sXe, a video of the attack was posted with a text stating that, when the group of young people “saw sexual attraction towards themselves in the eyes of the marching LGBT activists,” they viewed this as an attempted rape and took steps to defend themselves (the post has since been deleted but a screenshot has been saved). 

Furthermore, Anna Grabetskaya, who was holding a placard that read “I love my wife” during the action, was detained. Grabetskaya began to feel ill at the police station. However, after being taken to the hospital, she was not admitted but returned to the police station. The activist remained there until Monday. Two charges were brought against her — one for failing to obey police orders, a second for violating the regulations governing public events. The court fined her 10,500 roubles.

In Krasnodar region, feminist activists with a child were detained twice in a single day. At the police station, their passports were taken from them. They had earlier been threatened by people calling themselves Cossacks. The young women wanted to hold a feminist camp. However, they cancelled the event on account of threats they received from the “Cossacks”.

Early on Monday morning the police detained five women activists with a child for a first time. The police officers claimed to have received a lead about a suspected “violation of public order”. The second time, nine people were taken to the police station. At the police station, the activists’ ID papers were taken. The young women were released only after they had signed an official protocol “warning” them about holding public events that did not have official permission and about extremist activity.

A high school student prosecuted in the “12 June case” has been formally charged. According to official investigators, 17-year-old Mikhail Galyashkin released pepper spray into the face of a National Guard officer and caused him bodily injuries not harmful to his health. On 11 August the term of house arrest for Mikhail Galyashkin was extended until 13 September. The high school student maintains his innocence of the charges.

Protests against corruption were held on 12 June in 154 Russian cities and towns at which unlawful detentions and beatings of protesters by police were recorded. More than 1,769 people were taken to police stations. In 46 police stations, officers committed at least 109 serious violations of the law. In police station No. 33 in St. Petersburg, police officers sprayed tear gas into cells holding detainees.  

Artur Panov (left) and Maksim Smyshlyaev in the North Caucasus District Military Court. Credit: Igor Gukovsky.A Rostov resident has been sentenced to 10 years in a strict regime prison for associating with a minor. Maksim Smyshlyaev has been charged with abetting terrorist activity on the grounds that for a short time he associated with a minor, Artur Panov. Panov, a supporter of the Red Army Faction, published posts threatening acts of terror. Smyshlyaev says Panov discussed a planned act of terrorism with him, but he, Smyshlyaev, was not in favour. The investigators consider it was Smyshlyaev himself who told Panov how to produce a homemade bomb. 

Теxts of the week: how Tver district court is “cancelling” reality and how the KGB conducted surveillance of young people at the end of the 1960s. Teatr.doc director Zarema Zaudinova has told us how a leopard costume,  which she use for the 12 June protest, was transformed into trousers and coat at her trial. And here you can see a note by the KGB on surveillance of “dissident” students.

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About the author

OVD-Info was launched by volunteers in 2011 as a means of quickly monitoring arrests during mass protests. It has evolved into a full-scale analytical project dealing with law enforcement issues in Russia. Find out how you can help here.

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