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‘Coming Out’ rally in St. Petersburg, Russia ends in violence

Saturday, October 12, 2013

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — Sixty-seven people were arrested Saturday at an LGBT event in St. Petersburg, Russia, as anti-gay protesters clashed with LGBT rights advocates, a police official told LGBTQ Nation.

Dmitry Lovetsk, AP
Riot police detain gay rights activists after a scuffle with anti-gay protesters during an LGBT rally in St. Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013.

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Dmitry Lovetsky, AP
Riot police detain an anti-gay protester during an authorized gay rights rally in St. Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013.

Dmitry Lovetsk, APAnti-gay protesters gather to prevent a gay rights activist's rally in St.Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013.

Dmitry Lovetsk, AP
Anti-gay protesters gather to prevent a gay rights activist’s rally in St.Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013.

The event, to mark yesterday’s National Coming Out Day, an internationally observed civil awareness day celebrating individuals who publicly identify as LGBT, was scheduled by organizers to be held in the city’s downtown at the Field of Mars (Marsovo Pole) war memorial.

According to police, about 200 conservative and religious activists — which included Russian Orthodox church protesters and members of Russian nationalist organizations — were pre-staged in the area surrounding the Field of Mars and prevented the LGBT activists from approaching the memorial.

The clash between the two groups erupted as the anti-gay forces, singing religious songs and shouting anti-gay slurs, attempted to prevent the LGBT activists from unfurling Pride flags and posters containing LGBT-affirming slogans and messages.

Russian Riot police broke up the fighting, arresting 15 LGBT activists and 52 anti-gay protesters.

The Field of Mars is an area where demonstrations are allowed without special sanctions.

The St. Petersburg city government had sanctioned the rally despite the Russian government’s June passage of a contentious law outlawing gay “propaganda.”

While the law’s proponents argue it is aimed at protecting children, critics say the legislation is part of a much wider crackdown on Russia’s LGBT community, and claim it has led to increasing pressure and threats of violence from homophobic vigilantes.

A similar June protest in St. Petersburg resulted in 50 arrests and numerous LGBT activists being beaten by anti-gay protesters.

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146 more reader comments:

  1. Well, duh.

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 4:41pm
  2. Sad

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 4:43pm
  3. Surprise, sur-fricking-prise. At least they arrested the anti-gay bigots, too.

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 4:44pm
  4. you don't think they are going to charge the bigots do you?

    Replied on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 11:04pm
  5. We have to find ways to show our support; this is intolerable. The Olympics is going to pour millions of dollars into a country still living in the Middle Ages when it comes to human rights.

    Replied on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 12:29am
  6. dont go to jamaica if you are gay - its way worse than russia

    Replied on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 1:15am
  7. Violence is the new motto of Russia.
    Blood thirst, rape, violence, etc are core values of the Russian nazi regime.

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 4:44pm
  8. Smh we are free to be ourselves

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 4:44pm
  9. My heart goes out to the LGBT community there in Russia.

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 4:45pm
  10. I hate Russia

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 4:45pm
  11. Oh god

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 4:45pm
  12. Oh god

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 4:45pm
  13. Just too sad! Wake up Russia!

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 4:46pm
  14. Unfortunately, you cannot wake up the sleeping beauty! :(

    Replied on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 5:01pm
  15. It really incomprehensible. ….I can’t even imagine. We have come a long way here in America. …Russia has a unbelievable long way to go. They must first get rid of their dictator. I also hate Russia.

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 4:47pm
  16. I will only get worse …

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 4:49pm
  17. Doesn’t surprise me, premier Putin was the leader of the KGB during the last years of the Soviet Union

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 4:50pm
  18. Cowards

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 4:51pm
  19. Shame!

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 4:52pm
  20. oh course it does. sad.

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 4:52pm
  21. <3 so sorry this happened

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 4:52pm
  22. So fucked up.

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 4:55pm
  23. Pretty sad when the Russian Orthodox and the Russian Nationalists are siding together against LGBTQ people.

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 4:57pm
  24. The IOC should take note of whats happening in Russia & this only the start of things to come before sochi 14

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 4:58pm
  25. :O

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 4:59pm
  26. What do we have got from that they arrested them as well? They arrested LGBT activists which were there standing up for their Human Rights! What on Earth they think they are?! :@@@@@

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 5:01pm
  27. Horrible, it makes me so sad.

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 5:01pm
  28. Horrible, it makes me so sad.

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 5:01pm
  29. How brave are our brothers and sisters. Makes me grateful for what I take for granted.

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 5:01pm
  30. :-(

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 5:02pm
  31. ridiculous

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 5:05pm
  32. maybe the LGBT revolutionaries in Russia need to arm themselves

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 5:06pm
  33. It seems Russians and Republicans have the same ideas they’re wrong but they seem to be the same maybe all Republicans should move to Russia

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 5:06pm
  34. The LGBT in Russa is already struggling there, and you want to put Republicans in that mix? D:

    Replied on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 6:12am
  35. Oh get a life, you haters

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 5:06pm
  36. I ask myself, WHY? just Why

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 5:06pm
  37. Prayers and more prayers. What??? cops won’t show their faces there??

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 5:09pm
  38. :(

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 5:10pm
  39. It is very sad when they say land of the free!! Isn’t that supposed to be for all human beings? These idiots who are elected get paid by our taxes. WTF is wrong with the world? All I know is, I am gay, I have a 9 year old son whom I would die for, and if anyone tries to take him, I will not take it lightly.

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 5:11pm
  40. Why gays in Russia especially those with military training donot form a militia armed to defend themselves from police and thugs NAZI?

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 5:12pm
  41. These are the brothers and sisters that make me PROUD – not the parades, celebrations, and all that entails…these people make me proud to be queer and my heart goes out to them in hopes that one day their events can be as frivolous and fun as ours are today.

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 5:12pm
  42. YES man, just yes! Preach~

    Replied on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 8:33pm
  43. PUTIN IS A COWARD

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 5:14pm
  44. shocking! But good for the protesters, America went through this, and maybe these will will bring some justice to Russia

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 5:22pm
  45. This is just crap -.-

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 5:23pm
  46. FUCK RUSSIANS and THEIR VODKA! I’m drinking french stuff… at least they have marriage equality… sending prayers.. <3

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 5:25pm
  47. So sad! :(

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 5:27pm
  48. Why do people have to make a protest violent?

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 5:31pm
  49. I will not buy anything exported from Russia until they recognize everyone is human

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 5:32pm
  50. what a shame

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 5:36pm
  51. I find it absolutely sickening, fuck Russia!

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 5:36pm
  52. don’t want to visit RUSSIA, don’t feel SAFE there. NO THANKS!.

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 5:37pm
  53. Putin should be publicly hung.

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 5:38pm
  54. This is next to holocaust proportions…

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 5:41pm
  55. it’s going to take tremendous effort to turn things around in russia. it’s also going to take the assistance of the united nations. thankfully, the u.n is already having talks on repealing all laws that prevent lgbt from having equal rights. russia simply stands proudly against those that are not the same.

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 5:41pm
  56. Sad.

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 5:45pm
  57. The gays and lesbians in Russia need to form their own attack group. An eye for an eye.

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 5:45pm
  58. scary

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 5:47pm
  59. Keep fighting for what is right!

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 5:50pm
  60. go for boys, stand up for your rights !!!!

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 5:52pm
  61. So sad….very sad.

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 5:56pm
  62. Sigh.Sending love and prayers.

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 6:02pm
  63. I shudder to think what is happening to those protesters in custody. Now the authorities know who the “Gays” are and can watch them and see who they associate w/ etc. This nightmare is going to have so may victims!!!!

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 6:05pm
  64. Russia, you are sick!

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 6:08pm
  65. Nazi Germany all over again: Herr Putin bringing back the Pink Triangle: he wants to sew the Pink Triangle on the clothing of Gay Men before he shoots them…he will build the ovens to burn the bodies…History repeats itself, Herr Putin…and…and…and…this will be your downfall…and…and…and…this will be the downfall of Russia…your hate will take down your own country because the entire world will shun Russia…

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 6:12pm
  66. the judgement of God is on russia

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 6:14pm
  67. Sick bastards.

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 6:15pm
  68. Beating or killing gay people won’t end homosexuality because we don’t give birth to each other.

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 6:16pm
  69. sounds like a job for Occupy Russia!

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 6:20pm
  70. stupid russie anti gay est affreux evit putin caca

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 6:27pm
  71. they need to fight back against the anti glbtq people….show them what’s up! (their fists cracking some facial bones!!!)

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 6:31pm
  72. My prayers are being sent to these poor women and men, why does NO ONE SEE this is how HITLER started?

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 6:32pm
  73. HATE is such a strong word. I don’t like the Russian anti-gay laws. I don’t like how our LGBT brothers and sisters are treated, nor how they’re supporters are either. Putin and his neo-Nazis will eventually get what’s coming to them. Karma kids, I’m a firm believer. As we sit comfortably in our domiciles, we can only watch and read of the horror that’s still being inflicted on Russia’s LGBT communities and pray, that hopefully one day, it’ll be OK to be Gay in Russia.

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 6:42pm
  74. GOD bless AMERICA after all

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 6:44pm
  75. Look at this picture…5 faceless goons, one homophobic “citizen” and one very scared, sweet boy…really? Isn’t this boy something to scare all these poor Russian souls. Pray for ya kid.

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 6:49pm
  76. I see it Paul and that’s what scares me about some of the things going on in our own country right now.

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 6:51pm
  77. Russia still in the Dark Ages!

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 6:54pm
  78. Keep fighting guys. Governments will change.

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 7:03pm
  79. of course it did.

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 7:11pm
  80. Storm troopers !

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 7:15pm
  81. lest we forget getting arrested in russia is not like here. they may never get out.

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 7:16pm
  82. Tragic. Russia is a cesspool of bigotry and prejudice.

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 7:23pm
  83. The Russian police look like Umbrella Corp. Troops

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 7:24pm
  84. Those people making the arrests are probably closet cases themselves! !!

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 7:37pm
  85. lets atop it.lets demonstrate.

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 7:45pm
  86. These are very brave members of the global Gay Community fighting for Equal Human Rights for ALL!

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 7:49pm
  87. I love that the cops have to hide behind black tinted helmets. they should feel shame and hide.

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 7:52pm
  88. so sad. this is one reason why i will never go to russia. hey russia i you don’t know but being gay is not a fucking crime.all tthe LGBT community should move out of russia or tell them there is nothing wrong with being gay, they are the same , they want same rights, they didn’t do nothing wrong leave them alone

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 7:59pm
  89. The baggers want to bring this to the USA.

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 8:54pm
  90. Stand strong…

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 9:07pm
  91. SHAME

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 9:08pm
  92. So Russian, so Russian. The country is at least a hundred years behind the West in every respect and aspect.

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 9:12pm
  93. Russia has become the world’s largest festering haemorrhoid!

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 9:33pm
  94. This is the vision that Conservatives have for America.

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 9:35pm
  95. Terrible.

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 9:35pm
  96. Fucking country

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 9:46pm
  97. Leave us alone, let us be us…straight is good, gay is good too.

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 10:02pm
  98. I hear there is a book out about how the American Right Wing has funded and built the Russian Anti-LBGT movement.

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 10:18pm
  99. Thugs! Need helmets and visors to protect themselves from one young man who just wants to be free to love. Such a twisted logic. Putin needs to be put away for the rest of his life, in Siberia.

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 10:20pm
  100. Lots of love and heart-felt sentiments are headed your way. It doesn’t feel like it right now, but the world is paying attention, and you are making strides for those around you who also struggle.

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 10:23pm
  101. Keep it up, stay safe, we are with you! <3

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 10:40pm
  102. !Kill them!!!

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 10:42pm
  103. This would also be the vision for Tony Abbott’s Government in Australia

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 10:45pm
  104. Rasputin again

    Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 11:40pm
  105. History of Pogroms – Just different weak minority groups. Jews, Tatars, Poles, Udmurt, Karelian,Mari ,etcetra,etcetra ,etcetra

    Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 12:34am
  106. So sad.

    Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 12:54am
  107. F*ck Russia!

    Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 1:03am
  108. what is important to note in the article is that the police arrested more anti gay protestors than they did LGBT people

    Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 1:14am
  109. I thought that was Pewdiepie for a second.

    Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 1:17am
  110. people like that give Christianity a bad name :(

    Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 1:45am
  111. PLEASE notice the masked thugs .. thsi is how the government has to protect their police, anonymity!

    Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 1:52am
  112. WTF Russian people u are fucking retards leave us alone ggrrr

    Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 1:54am
  113. Does it EVER end??

    Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 1:58am
  114. Fuck Putin.

    Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 2:07am
  115. Sad. Super sad.

    Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 2:16am
  116. why doesnt putin just come out ?

    Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 3:32am
  117. Why ! Why do people have to be so violent !

    Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 4:27am
  118. go back into the closet for goodness sakes, you live in a backwards hell hole of a country.

    Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 4:37am
  119. The pogroms have begun in earnest with Putin’s stormtroopers leading the shaming…

    Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 4:56am
  120. How does the extreme Right feel about being in sync with our greatest enemy (according to Mitt Romney)?

    Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 4:59am
  121. :n(

    Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 5:06am
  122. no

    Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 5:14am
  123. Religion strikes again!

    Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 5:45am
  124. I don’t hate Russia. I think it’s a country with a lot of bloody history but still amazingly resilient and in its own way very beautiful. I just hate what’s being done to the LGBT community there.

    Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 6:28am
  125. don’t worry my friends karma will come up to bite those bigotted idiots in power their day will come hopefully with one of them dying and possibly a gay/lesbian person might take the time to save their life show them we are all human

    Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 7:01am
  126. You know, this is RIDICULOUS! Being gay is not a choice. You canNOT choose what get’s you sexually aroused and you canNOT help how you sound, dress, act, or laugh. You are you and these idiots are arresting them for being themselves! And they may never get out! I mean, what is this, 1905?! This is the year 2013! It’s time these idiots grew up and grew some brains. They are punishing those over something that is THEIR problem! It’s not the gays fault that homophobes are so uncomfortable! Something in power has got to do something about this….NOW!

    Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 7:26am
  127. You know, this is RIDICULOUS! Being gay is not a choice. You canNOT choose what get’s you sexually aroused and you canNOT help how you sound, dress, act, or laugh. You are you and these idiots are arresting them for being themselves! And they may never get out! I mean, what is this, 1905?! This is the year 2013! It’s time these idiots grew up and grew some brains. They are punishing those over something that is THEIR problem! It’s not the gays fault that homophobes are so uncomfortable! Something in power has got to do something about this….NOW!

    Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 7:26am
  128. Sigh…when will people learn that so long as you try to control who a person can love or what they are “allowed” to take joy in then the world’s never going to be at peace. Oppression will only ever give rise to resistance and rebellion. Tolerance and acceptance is the only way to have peace. And why is that so difficult?! Who a person chooses to love affects no one but that person and their partner! Government doesn’t belong in the bedrooms of consenting adults.

    Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 7:39am
  129. Sigh…when will people learn that so long as you try to control who a person can love or what they are “allowed” to take joy in then the world’s never going to be at peace. Oppression will only ever give rise to resistance and rebellion. Tolerance and acceptance is the only way to have peace. And why is that so difficult?! Who a person chooses to love affects no one but that person and their partner! Government doesn’t belong in the bedrooms of consenting adults.

    Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 7:39am
  130. Militarized Medicine, or Military-Junta Prostitution? That’s the matter when it comes to the circumcision-surgery-industrial complex (except for Mercury Amalgam Fillings, though). https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/efflagitatus#Latin

    Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 7:51am
  131. Militarized Medicine, or Military-Junta Prostitution? That’s the matter when it comes to the circumcision-surgery-industrial complex (except for Mercury Amalgam Fillings, though). https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/efflagitatus#Latin

    Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 7:51am
  132. Russians are not open minded…

    Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 8:18am
  133. russia is a fascist state, plain and simple.

    unfortunately, the usa isn’t much better; not as much as everyone thinks.

    in the usa, we are imperialists; and those who disagree aren’t realists… : (

    Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 8:55am
  134. Americans arent that open either

    Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 10:52am
  135. I feel so sorry for all LGBT folks in Russia… Good Luck!!!

    Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 10:59am
  136. So Sorry…and thank you for taking a stand!…We are chanting for peace!

    Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 11:52am
  137. Omg these BACK ass world countries So need to be put in check! prayers to all my Russia gays!

    Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 12:29pm
  138. Russia is a crap hole of a country.

    Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 2:06pm
  139. I have a feeling whats happening in russia is going to happen here in the us soon :(

    Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 4:30pm
  140. merde

    Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 5:43pm
  141. Support LGBT, BOYCOTT SOCHI

    Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 6:59pm
  142. God hates LGBT

    Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 8:34pm
  143. This is an abomination….. regardless of what country we live in we as human should know better than to no repeat history…… I can not believe there are people in the world still being persecuted for be gay and to top it off refused marriage amid other things….. it has been thousands of years and people still cannot see past a persons sexuality – we are all humans, we all bleed the same blood why should whom we love dictate the way we are treated……no person has the rights to discriminated against any type of love….. FUCK politicians/churches any other anti gay movement – Get used to it dickheads eventually IT WILL BE ACCEPTED and we WILL have the same right you pathetic straight people get…. and when that day comes……I hope you all bury your heads….. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

    Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 11:52pm
  144. People always say that religion is about love, why is it then that religion is always at the front line picketing against everyone;s right that doesn’t fit into their idea of the bible.

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 12:53am
  145. Sending all my bother’s and sister’s many prayers

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 1:17am
  146. The only safe place right now for GLBT people are the nations of the developed Western world. In Russia, Sub-Saharan Africa, most of Latin America, Asia and the Arab countries homosexuality is either criminalised or shunned. Two preconditions for the acceptance of GLBT human rights and equality as understood in the West are liberal democracy and a strong tradition of secular humanism; these preconditios do not exist in post-Soviet Russia. Western liberal values are not universal and for this reason it is time to develop a narrative of GLBT human rights that can overcome this barrier.

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 9:24am