Ten LGBT Rights Activists Arrested in Moscow
Ten Russian LGBT rights activists were arrested at the Sochi Olympics headquarters in Moscow on Wednesday, according to Gay Star News.
The group, led by well-known activists Nikolay Alexeyev, attempted to hold a protest against Russia’s "homosexual propaganda" law, which prohibits people from holding rallies during the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi next year.
Gay Star News reports that eyewitnesses said that after police took a sign that urged for the end of homophobia in Russia, the 10 activists were placed under arrest around 2 p.m. local time.
"Spirits appear to be high in the group, having taken a picture in the police van and posted it on social media," Gay Star News writes.
Last week Alexeyev spoke with the news site and said, "The denial [from Moscow] was based on the federal law banning ’homosexual propaganda.’ They are using it to ban all protests wherever or whenever you apply. It is just being used as a pretext."
Gay Star News reports that the group expected to be arrested but wanted to set an example and embarrass Russian police and the International Olympic Committee.
Even before Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the controversial anti-gay bill into national law this summer, the country’s police were arresting gay rights activists. In January 2012, three Russian LGBT activists, including Alexeyev, were arrested in Arkhangelsk, Russia, under the region’s own "homosexual propaganda" law.
In July 2012, Russian police arrested eight gay activists in St. Petersburg, Russia, which also had its own version of the "homosexual propaganda" measure, for attempting to hold two gay rights rallies, the Associated Press reported. Again in June 2013, police from Moscow arrested dozens gay rights activists and Russian nationalists who confronted them at a rally, AP reported.