Russian Police Arrest Gay Activists During Coming Out Rally

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Tuesday October 14, 2014

Russian police detained at least seven LGBT activists Sunday during a National Coming Out rally in Moscow, according to Queer Russia.

The activists were detained for "disobedience" and were reportedly dragged to the ground and into police cars even though they had the permits to hold the rally. According to the website, police started to check the documents of the activists just 10 or 15-minutes into the protest. Authorities said the real purpose of the protest did not match their documents.

Even though the activists agreed to stop the rally and take down their signs, another patrol arrived and detained them, Queer Russia reports, citing Russian news site OVD.

According to the Russian TV channel Rain, "ordinary citizens" helped police arrest the activists, but it turned out those citizens were members of the Criminal Investigation Department. Moscow-based LGBT organization Rainbow Association says a witness commented about the incident and said: "The crowd was behaving very aggressively, there were a lot of homophobic shoutings. [It was] disgusting."

Queer Russia says Reida Lynn, Nick Nemeni, Dmitry Svetlyi, Marta Hromova, Maria Goncharova, as well as Vladimir Komov, and Svetlana Danchenkova were among the activists detained. They were reportedly taken to a police station but were later released after three hours at 7 p.m.

According to a representative for the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the activists were detained because they violated the Administrative Code article 19.3, "disobeying a lawful order of a police officer."