LGBT marchers defy St. Petersburg anti-gay law

Despite the St. Petersburg law against “gay propaganda,” dozens of people marched with rainbow flags through the center of the city today. The local LGBT organization Coming Out reported:

LGBT rights marchers in St. Petersburg, Russia, on May 1, 2013. (Photo courtesy of Coming Out)
LGBT rights marchers in St. Petersburg, Russia, on May 1, 2013. (Photo courtesy of Coming Out)

RAINBOW MAY DAY MARCH IN ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA

May 1st, a true “gay parade” took place at the May Day March in St. Petersburg, Russia.

80-100 people marched down the St. Petersburg historical central avenue, with rainbow flags and slogans such as “No to the shameful homophobic law! Let’s stop the hate and discrimination together!” LGBT made part of the larger Democratic column, consisting of various democratic groups and political parties of St. Petersburg.

Despite attempts by the police to ban deployment of rainbow flags at the beginning of the march, activists were able to pass along the entire route with rainbow flags and banners.

Olga Lenkova, LGBT organization Coming Out activist, spoke at the
end of the rally about the importance of solidarity: “Many people think that the problems of LGBT people are private issues. But this is not true. In a society that is ready to discriminate one, no one is safe from discrimination. …
We are being set against each other by our government, under the guise of concern for the morals of children, and myths about “foreign agents.” But I want to remind all of us: solidarity is stronger than repression!”

“It felt like Pride today on Nevsky prospect!” said one of participants. Today showed us that open demonstrations by LGBT are possible, despite the
“homosexual propaganda” law and other laws clamping down on freedom of assembly and expression.

The May Day Democratic column was organized by the coalition Democratic Petersburg. Rainbow column was organized by the LGBT organization Coming Out, Alliance of Heterosexuals for LGBT Rights, and other members of the coalition.

More photos are here: http://www.comingoutspb.ru/en/en-news/mayday

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, and editor/publisher of Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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