BY NATASHA BARSOTTI – Word from queer St Petersburg organization Coming Out is that activists detained for displaying rainbow flags and other rainbow insignia during a May Day civil rights march were not charged with flouting the city’s new anti-gay law, but they faced charges under other laws for not complying with police requests and for participating in an illegal demonstration.
They were eventually released after being held for seven hours.
According to Coming Out, those wearing rainbow-coloured items or carrying signs that denounced homophobia were selectively pulled from the march and taken to police stations.The detention protocol reportedly stated that the various items and signs “did not have prior authorization, thereby constituting a violation of regulations for carrying out public demonstrations.”
That queer rights supporters were the only ones detained is proof that the new gay propaganda law is “working perfectly as it was intended,” said Polina Savchenko, the head of Coming Out. “Police will use the ‘propaganda’ argument to stop any action and detain its participants; the subsequent court hearings and judgments are immaterial,” Savchenko added.