LGBT Protesters Bring Charges Against Police
Published: January 23, 2014 (Issue # 1794)
Ten LGBT rights activists are suing the police over what they consider to have been illegal detentions during an attempted International Coming Out Day rally in October. The plaintiffs are seeking 250,000 rubles ($6,665) in damages each, LGBT rights organization Vykhod (Coming Out) reported. The suits were filed on Jan. 14.
The organizers of the rally, Kirill Kalugin and Natalya Tsymbalova, also filed lawsuits against the police for failing to provide security for the participants or ensuring that authorized rally go forward as planned.
The rally was due to take place on Oct. 12 but was called off due to the presence of anti-gay protesters who blocked the entrance to the designated site on the Field of Mars, where the rally had been scheduled to be held. Police were seen refusing to assist the LGBT activists in reaching the site. Several LGBT activists were assaulted by Orthodox and nationalist radicals as they tried to reach the enclosure reserved for protests.
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Twenty-five LGBT rights activists and 40 anti-gay protesters were detained and taken to police stations.
Following the arrests, 15 activists were charged with disorderly conduct, while ten were released within three hours without charges being pressed.
According to Ksenia Kirichenko, who heads Vykhod's Legal Aid program, seven of the ten activists who filed the lawsuits were acquitted of all charges, while three were found guilty and received fines of 500 to 700 rubles ($15-$21).
"Our main demand is that the police's actions, primarily the detentions, be declared illegal because those arrested people essentially detained for nothing and accused of crimes they did not commit," Kirichenko said.
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