City Hall Authorizes LGBT Rights Rally
‘We hope to have a full-fledged rally rather than be stopped after five minutes like it was last year.’
Published: May 14, 2014 (Issue # 1810)
The St. Petersburg LGBT rights movement has urged democratic and human rights groups to join them in recognizing the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia with a rally at the Field of Mars on Saturday, May 17.
Organized by St. Petersburg’s LGBT rights organization Vykhod (Coming Out), the rally — called Rainbow Flashmob — was authorized by City Hall late last week, Coming Out director Anna Anisimova told The St. Petersburg Times.
Activists plan to release colorful balloons into the sky as a symbolic move to combat homophobia and transphobia.
“It will be peaceful, non-protest assembly,” Anisimova said.
“We want to hold not simply an LGBT rights rally, but demonstrate the support of and solidarity within the LGBT community. That’s why we get human rights organizations and other groups to support the event.”
“Love does not delight in evil,” a partial quote from 1 Corinthians 13:6 of the New Testament, will be the main slogan of this year’s rally, Anisimova said.
Anisimova said that she hoped the upcoming rally will occur peacefully, adding that she and the other organizers met with the police on Monday to discuss security at the rally.
“We hope to have a full-fledged rally rather than be stopped after five minutes like it was last year,” she said.
According to Anisimova, the police officers were concerned about possible violence against the demonstrators from anti-gay groups. At the same time, they warned against any violations of the law prohibiting “gay propaganda” among minors passed in St. Petersburg in 2012.
“They warned against provocations,” she said.
“Perhaps they wanted us to have no provocative banners or placards, and maybe not to demonstrate sexual behavior. It’s difficult for me to suggest what they meant, but we said that none of this is being planned.”
Early in the week, there was no campaigning on the Internet against the upcoming rally, Anisimova said.
“There were some aggressive comments on social networks, but no coordinated calls to come to the rally [in order to stop it],” she said.
However, a number of nationalist and Orthodox groups formed a coalition last week called the St. Petersburg Anti-Maidan Staff, aimed at preventing a Ukraine-like revolution in Russia, the Fontanka.ru website reported on May 8.
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