17 May 2012
Today St. Petersburg LGBT community commemorated International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia by holding an officially authorized mass rally.
Over 300 people gathered in Petrovsky park in St. Petersburg. However, not all of those present came to support the ideas of tolerance and non-violence to LGBT. About 100-150 members of nationalist, soccer-fan, and aggressive clerical groups chanted homophobic extremist slogans, ready to charge at protesters. A row of police stood as buffer, holding the aggressors at bay. Despite the charged atmosphere, the action dedicated to peace and non-violence was a success. Over 500 rainbow balloons were launched into the skies to symbolize our dreams of the world without homophobia and hate, accompanied by applause of lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender people, their allies, relatives, and friends. Representatives of democratic parties and human rights organizations of St. Petersburg spoke of the importance of joining our forces against the growing intolerance in society. The police and organizers of the rally provided buses that took the participants to safety. Unfortunately, violence could not be avoided. 2 LGBT activists were attacked and are filing reports with the police. Additionally, a bus full of migrants was attacked by the frustrated extremists hungry for action. This incident demonstrates fully how the "propaganda" laws lead to escalation of violence and hatred in society, which could touch the lives of anyone. All the more important it is for civil society to unite, become stronger and more visible, and say "NO" to violence and homophobic or any other form of xenophobic discrimination.
Photos from the rally will be available shortly here: http://www.comingoutspb.ru/ru/dlya-smi/rainbowflash2012smi