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Rainbow Flashmob Celebrates in Peace

Many people dont go out to speak about their rights, not because they dont care, but simply because they fear for their physical safety.

Published: May 23, 2014 (Issue # 1812)



  • A massive police presence helped protect the rallys participants during the May 17 event, held at the Field of Mars.
    Photo: Sergey Chernov / SPT

  • The release of 300 colored balloons into the air marked the end of the rally.
    Photo: Sergey Chernov / SPT

An annual LGBT rights rally, held to mark International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, was held without incident on May 17 at the Field of Mars, although attacks took place before and after the event. Over 200 people turned up for Rainbow Flashmob, an event held annually in St. Petersburg since 2009, to celebrate the removal of the word homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1990 and to remind the public of LGBT rights violations.

Our goal was to head to the streets for the [LGBT] community, as this date is very important, and we wanted to make sure all felt secure during the event, said Sasha Semyonova, a coordinator with the LGBT rights organization Vykhod (Coming Out).

Many people dont go out to speak about their rights, not because they dont care, but simply because they fear for their physical safety. So we wanted to create a space where the police would be able to perform their job well, with every possible measure of security provided so that the participants would not be harmed. This has been the most peaceful event since this rally started in 2009. There were no attacks during the Rainbow Flashmob and no one was injured.

The massive police presence of more than 20 large OMON riot police trucks parked near the Field of Mars, as well as approximately 200 regular police and OMON police on site, helped protect the rallys participants.

A number of left-wing activists from the Russian Socialist Movement (RSD) and supporters of Autonomous Action, an anarchist group, as well as civil and human rights activists, also came to support the event, holding placards and helping stand guard.

We took part because we believe that the fight against homophobia and discrimination of any kind is extremely important, especially today and especially in Russia, said Vladimir Plotnikov, an activist with RSD.

Xenophobia [and homophobia] is bait that the authorities and oligarchs use to catch ordinary people. While they make profits, the people beat each other over fictitious problems.

The rainbow-colored event saw people holding 300 colored balloons and rainbow flags, which were handed out by the organizers. Also handed out were placards with quotes such as, We are for love, People are not a fence; you cant paint them in one color, Guys, lets live as friends and Stop! Homophobia.

Lasting 20 minutes, the rally ended with participants releasing balloons in the air before heading off in rented buses that were to take them to undisclosed metro stations so as not to be attacked near the site.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Centers Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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