Russian police arrested seventeen people at a gay flashmob in Moscow, according to reports. The group descended upon the square to celebrate International Day Against Homophobia.
Reuters reported that over 50 people attended the flashmob, “but crowd control police drove up a bus and started shoving the protesters inside before they managed to unfurl any banners or chant any slogans.” The police only released one person so far. Organizer Andrei Obolensky is still detained as of Sunday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin passed an anti-gay propaganda law in June 2013 “that stigmatizes gay people and bans giving children any information about homosexuality.” The bill bans all “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” and is used as a way to fight against Western liberalism. People who pass out “propaganda” or hold gay pride rallies are subjected to heavy fines.
Out Loud magazine attended the rally held in St. Petersburg.
— ВЫХОД Coming Out (@ComingOutSpb) May 17, 2015
Translation: “Flashmob heart formation initiated by the participants.”
— Humour_deBen (@Humour_deBen) May 17, 2015
Translation: “A single flashmob in Samara”
— Барбоша (@BarboshaBlog) May 17, 2015
Translation: “Balloons flew.”
— Out Loud (@outloudru) May 17, 2015
Translation: “St. Petersburg LGBT activists hold a “Rainbow Flashmob””
Петербургские ЛГБТ-активисты провели "Радужный флэшмоб" http://t.co/rd980XUIPt
— bbcrussian (@bbcrussian) May 17, 2015
In Khabarovsk, people attacked activist Alexander Ermoshkina. A doctor confirmed he received a concussion. Ermoshkina said he will not go to the police to file a report since the mayor repeatedly told the LGBT not to hold a rally.