The author of St Petersburg’s version of Russia’s anti-gay gag law showed up at the launch of a Pride festival and targeted participants with anti-gay slurs as they entered the event venue Sept 19, organizers say.
Vitaly Milonov and a group of five or six people reportedly called QueerFest attendees “un-Russian,” “faggots” and “animals,” organizers told GLAAD.
Organizers also allege that Milonov and his group physically attacked one participant, who was hit in the face, but report no major injuries.
Police arrived on the scene but found no cause for action and left.
Milonov is on record as calling for the death of a protesting gay rights activist for “extremism,” as well as saying that gay athletes and tourists at the Sochi Winter Games could be arrested under Russia’s nationwide anti-gay gag law.
Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to insist that there's no discrimination against gays, despite the passage of a series of anti-gay laws at the federal, regional and city levels, the proposal of yet another measure that aims to deprive gay people of their parental rights, and the recent news that Russian teachers are being persecuted because of their sexuality.
QueerFest, which is in its fifth year, drew 150 people to its launch at St Petersburg art gallery Nesuschestvuyuschij Etazh (The Non-Existent Floor). A number of the city’s civil and human rights organizations, as well as representatives from European and US diplomatic missions, were in attendance.