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Gay rights activists arrested in separate incidents in Moscow, St. Petersburg

Friday, February 7, 2014
Yuri Timofeev

Yuri Timofeev

Courtesy: Yuri Timofeev

Yuri Timofeev

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — Russian police arrested several gay rights activists protesting in St. Petersburg and Moscow on the opening day of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

In Moscow, police quickly detained 10 gay rights activists who waved rainbow flags Friday on Red Square, according to Russian news reports. Moscow police refused to comment.

Watch (video and images courtesy grani.ru):

In St. Petersburg, four activists were detained Friday after unfurling a banner quoting the Olympic Charter’s ban on any form of discrimination.

The protesters, who gathered on St. Petersburg’s Vasilyevsky Island, were quickly rounded up by police, according to Natalia Tsymbalova, a local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activist.

Police there also refused any immediate comment.

A Russian law banning gay “propaganda” from reaching minors has drawn strong international criticism and calls for boycott of the Sochi Games from gay activists and others.

Russian law also bans any unsanctioned protests and violators may face fines or prison sentences.

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Human Rights First, a rights watchdog based in New York and Washington D.C., quickly condemned the arrests of Russian LGBT activists.

“The most alarming thing is, despite the international attention, the authorities are still bringing more charges under the law and it is being applied on a larger scale,” spokesman Shawn Gaylord said in a statement.

All Out, the international group that organized events in 20 cities this week to pressure Olympic sponsors to condemn Russia’s “gay propaganda” law, also harshly criticized the detentions of activists.

“This outrageous move directly contradicts the IOC’s assurance that Russian laws are in line with the Olympic Charter,” said Andre Banks, executive director of All Out.

Associated Press contributed to this report.
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141 more reader comments:

  1. Oh great just what I wanted to here!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:41pm
  2. The law over there is disgusting, I don’t see why people can’t just be free to be who they are!?

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:42pm
  3. Because PUtin is using the Russian Orthodox church to terrorize the Dumas and the people of Russia for his own fascist dictatorship and the consolidation of power and money.

    Replied on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:45pm
  4. It's so sad to see:(

    Replied on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:46pm
  5. Because they're Russians, duh.

    Replied on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 11:58pm
  6. wipe russia off the map and be done with it.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:42pm
  7. Frightening

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:43pm
  8. They are choosing to fight when they could be leaving the country altogether. O know that won’t solve what’s happening in Russia but neither with millions of people dying because they are gay!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:44pm
  9. choose to leave? you are making it sound like dropping everything you know and love is easy. sorry, but to me, that is the most ignorant comment I have heard.

    Replied on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 9:06pm
  10. Disgusting.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:45pm
  11. BRAVO BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF RUSSIA!!!!!!!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:46pm
  12. Normally there is a truce during the Olympic Games. But not in Russia.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:47pm
  13. Heros

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:48pm
  14. If youre gay, and u know it. Why the fuck go to Russia? Yall swear like they gonna say, “hey a gay american. Lets listen to what they have to say.” Smdh.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:50pm
  15. The LGBTQ competitors taking part in said Olympics should just go “oh for fuck sake” and walk off. See what Putin and his fascists do then!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:52pm
  16. Make a stand.. no pain no gain…

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:52pm
  17. Putin only wants prestige without obligations, and honouring the original (not just modern IOC) spirit of the Olympic Games would require far too much of his limited supply of false integrity….as well as endangering his cozy relations with the mob bosses and the reactionary-medieval Russian Orthodox Church and its paranoid parochial-minded believers, not to mention all those poor neo-fascist thugs who need people to beat up on lest they turn on the hand that encourages them. Those are such important alliances to maintain….

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:54pm
  18. o gabby trying to fine a ride to divorce oaoers ya

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:55pm
  19. on gabby is trying to fine a ride to do divorce papers ya

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:56pm
  20. The Olympics should NEVER been allowed in Russia.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:57pm
  21. …I’m so sick and tired of these homophobic russians!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:57pm
  22. At this point in my life, I really don’t understand why being gay is such a threat. We just don’t go around committing crimes. We’re just people like everyone else. Except for the sex part. And how does having sex be a threat to a person that we are not having sex with?

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:58pm
  23. We consider gay people as sick, that’s why we have the law in Russia.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:58pm
  24. :(

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:01pm
  25. Russia can literally just die anytime now.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:04pm
  26. Oh s**t

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:05pm
  27. Russia can die

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:06pm
  28. They show great courage to fight for their beliefs.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:07pm
  29. it is not a belief..is it a right..to have the same basic human rights as the heterosexuals...

    Replied on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:15pm
  30. I didn't use the right term. I agree with you completely

    Replied on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:34pm
  31. Lol oh gheez we understood

    Replied on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:57pm
  32. US SHOULD NOT BE THERE AND ANIMAL RIGHTS ARE ABUSED THERE TOO COME ON WE CARE ABOUT OTHER COUNTRIES HUMAN RIGHTS AND WE GO THERE

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:08pm
  33. FOR THAT ALONE THE US SHOULD GET THE F K OUT

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:08pm
  34. Our guys informed, that in the police station activists beaten

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:08pm
  35. STOP ARRESTING GAY PROTESTERS…WE DESERVE EQUAL RIGHTS,FREEDOMS…LET US BE WHO WE ARE IN PEACE!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:09pm
  36. Viva la resistance!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:09pm
  37. Demand acceptance and equality. Keep fighting for it.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:09pm
  38. It’s Russia for heaven’s sake. What else would you expect? They thugs, bullies and brutes; and, murderers.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:10pm
  39. …I’m so much ashamed for this russians!!! I almost can bear my anger for this homophobic scum! I think I must throw up!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:11pm
  40. Two activists chained with handcuffs to the bars cameras in the police station and beaten

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:11pm
  41. I Would gladly be arrested defending equality

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:12pm
  42. Excuse me, Russia? “The whole world is watching.”

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:12pm
  43. Well, isn’t this a big surprise ? So wrong…

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:12pm
  44. The Hate Parade

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:13pm
  45. Hope they are OK, it is not like there is any laws to ensure their safety. Very very brave

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:13pm
  46. RIP Russia

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:13pm
  47. I just finished watching the Olympic Games opening ceremony and Mr Thomas Bach kept talking about a “peaceful society”. This is not a peaceful society. A peaceful society is a society where EVERYONE no matter nationality or sexuality can live in peace without the fear of getting killed or arrested. You talk a lot, Russia, but you never live up to your words. I give you credits for your opening ceremony simply because it was well planned and spectacular. Otherwise, you can go to hell.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:13pm
  48. No

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:13pm
  49. Turkey condemns LGBT liu yi Russia from Turkey even more free rate

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:14pm
  50. This is so sad and upsetting.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:14pm
  51. Shoot back.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:15pm
  52. Keep it up, my fellow Russian LGBT… We are proud of you!!!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:15pm
  53. Remind me why they earned the privilege of having the olympics there?

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:15pm
  54. You can’t silence us, not in this day and age, you can try, but you’ll never prevail.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:16pm
  55. Homophobic Goons

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:16pm
  56. how far some have fallen for the wrong reasons

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:16pm
  57. the athletes will not feel like so much like winners in theyre spirits knowing whats happening right now against gay people,the world is watching,but what the so-called leaders don’t realize is that they have opened up the pandora box of acceptance compassion and understanding,and it will only get better from here.i feel the pain,i take the pain,and i heal the pain,all you have to do is be still sometimes, be strong in heart mind body and in spirits.use the strength of your two spirits/souls/energies/deities we have,and we are all two spirited human beings in this planet,you came from your father and your mother and you are twospirited.it does not mean straight men are gay or will be gay,it just means that we gay people acknowledge respect and appreciate the female spirit just alittle more than straight men,and some men just like to bring out they’re female spirit more fabulously thats all.and as for the straight man,if only he could acknowledge the female spirit in him,the abuse of women would not be so terrible.but tell a straight man he has a female spirit and he will yell i aint no fag!,ohh the humanimal in us all still.and only you have the power to allow pain to drain your spirits away from this planet.use the power of one.we are all connected to everything and everyone.and if you can,feel bad for the poor spirits that are stuck in those bodies of hate,because it is not the spirits who hates us,is it only from they’re own narrowmindedness of theyre consciousness,and not from the subconsciousness.and the subconsciousness will always correct the bad consciousness,and it will let them know…EVOLVE YOUR BELIEFS…ONE <3 ONE <3
    (4 photos)

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:16pm
  58. Courage !

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:17pm
  59. As much as some people can hate living in the United States im thankful that I’m born and raised in the United States.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:17pm
  60. I cannot imagine the horrors these freedom fighters will face. YIKES!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:18pm
  61. Sochi has put gay rights centre stage – but being gay and Christian can still mean flak from either side. Here’s Lord Smith, who feels comfortable with both identities http://bit.ly/MwOb1r

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:21pm
  62. someone PLEASE tell me why Russia deserves to have the Olympics there…

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:23pm
  63. What the fuck is wrong with those people???? it is the 21st century! This is why I hate people. Leave others to live their life their way! Who the hell are you to dictate who someone is allowed to love? They are CONSENTING adults! Geez, you have a choice between love and hate and you choose hate. Russia, you’re pathetic.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:25pm
  64. that’s good

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:28pm
  65. I agree with ash lee

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:28pm
  66. Look World !!! Look at the Nazi’s at work in 2014 !!!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:29pm
  67. I HATE these people. F***ing Putin.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:33pm
  68. Fuck Russia

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:37pm
  69. Keep fighting the fight. My thoughts are with y’all.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:41pm
  70. Wow, Russia will pay for just like Spain and Portugal paid for expelling thier Jews.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:48pm
  71. Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church are disgustingly corrupt !

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:49pm
  72. Russia governrment :P

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:51pm
  73. Vladimir Putin needs to cop on to him self, get them gimps who are hunting out the lgbt community in he’s so called motherland….геи имеют права (Gay people do have right’s)

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:51pm
  74. respect to those who resist..

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:51pm
  75. Already three days on the Red Square consisting of three platoon of the “internal troops”, many police buses, all entrances of metro stations are blocked by the police searched every third

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:52pm
  76. it makes me so sad.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:53pm
  77. Omg these people are so brave!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:53pm
  78. Praying for these brave souls.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:54pm
  79. :P

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:55pm
  80. First I want to start off by saying, I am gay. That said, we are going into their country and “making” them accept us. If the Olympic games were not there we would not be “making” them accept us. I agree 100% that it is our right to be L/G/B/T. However, That is their country and the laws of their country. Let’s try not to take away from the HARD working well deserved credit of the athletes.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:56pm
  81. :’(

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:56pm
  82. Disliking Russia more and more every day.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 8:00pm
  83. These LGBT folks in Russia getting arrested know very much that they are putting their safety and lives at risk to help future generations of LGBT. Each one of them is a HERO to me.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 8:01pm
  84. Bastards!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 8:05pm
  85. This has NOTHING to do with the Atheletes Patricia. This has to do absolutely 100% with the RIGHTS of human beings to live the life they each seek! PERIOD.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 8:06pm
  86. Yes they do you go guys Power to the People

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 8:07pm
  87. BURN THE RUSSIAN GOVERMENT TO THE GROUND!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 8:10pm
  88. Sing out loud and proud brothers and sisters xx

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 8:13pm
  89. damn sad

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 8:18pm
  90. So glad I don’t live there . Feel bad for the descent 2 spirited being arrested for being who they are . How long will people be bullied cuz of fearful people?Think some of these homophobic men or woman are hiding some sexual kinks in there skeleton filled closets too .I do dom, fetish & kink and a lot are straight men or posing straight are into gay things strap on’s ,wearing woman clothes etc etc .Weird to knock people who don’t hide in closets like cowards .Like some of these posing straight people do.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 8:22pm
  91. The bastards have begun.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 8:23pm
  92. Terrible

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 8:24pm
  93. Solidarity

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 8:26pm
  94. Very scary having the Olympics there , where there are gay athletes…..can’t wait until it is over & the athletes return home safely…..Russia will never change…..ignorance will always be everywhere….very sad

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 8:26pm
  95. Disgusting and appalling!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 8:34pm
  96. fuke you puten

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 8:43pm
  97. Awful

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 8:47pm
  98. This is terrible! Scary Olympics!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 8:50pm
  99. :/

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 8:52pm
  100. Disgraceful behaviour by the police who are totally homophobic like most of the country

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 8:54pm
  101. Absolutely disgraceful Russia call themselves a democracy more like a dictatorship

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 8:56pm
  102. Democracy they wouldn’t recognise it if it jumped up and bit them lol

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 8:57pm
  103. God only knows what will happen to those people now that they are in the hands of the authorities. I am certain that their homes are being ransacked for information about who else is Gay that they know.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 9:02pm
  104. Very Scary having the Olympics there!!! Disgusting!!!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 9:26pm
  105. Sometihng bad is going to happen because of this, I’m afraid.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 9:30pm
  106. Showing their bigotry for all the world to see

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 9:33pm
  107. Shame on Russian’s government…!!!!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 9:38pm
  108. I fear for everyone’s safety over the next 2 weeks. Prayers for God’s protection.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 9:42pm
  109. They have timed these well – it SHOULD get attention as part of Olympic coverage! If not – then we must continue to spread that word!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 9:46pm
  110. Shame on Russian govt

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 9:55pm
  111. Shameful behaviour.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 10:01pm
  112. This has to stop why is nobody in a position of power confronting this bastard !!!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 10:06pm
  113. Fight the good fight my LGBTQIA family in Russia. You shall one day overcome. The struggle continues…

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 10:09pm
  114. ^well then they are going to suffer persecution. I’m sorry if you think that’s so ignorant but their other choices are to suffer the persecution or to hide themselves

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 10:11pm
  115. Shame!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 10:17pm
  116. Solidarity! We love you LGBTQ RUSSIA! X

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 10:18pm
  117. Ass hole cops!!!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 10:19pm
  118. :(

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 10:22pm
  119. My thoughts are with them. Thank you for being brave. I hate that the lgbt community over there is going through this.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 10:26pm
  120. we are standing with you from the usa

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 10:28pm
  121. homofobia EN Rusia.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 10:37pm
  122. keep on keeping,,,,,we support you in the usa

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 10:37pm
  123. Keep up the good fight!!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 10:43pm
  124. :/

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 10:43pm
  125. How sickening…..this kind of ignorance and hatred. These actions will only have grave consequences for the perpetrators!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 10:47pm
  126. Fascism at work !!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 11:05pm
  127. We should not have attended the games!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 11:08pm
  128. Fascism !!

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 12:02am
  129. Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 12:08am
  130. … And NBC says NOTHING about this!

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 12:15am
  131. Russia has always been a Master of propoganda and they haven’t changed their spots

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 12:20am
  132. You have to fight for your rights peacefully – my heart goes out to all you gay activists in Russia.

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 12:26am
  133. put there ass in jail breaking the law

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 12:30am
  134. Sick and tired of all the bull that Putin is dishing out!

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 12:45am
  135. Retard laws

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 12:50am
  136. I wouldn’t go to Russia….and I don’t think the Olympics should have gone there either!

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 12:58am
  137. Welcome to Russia, the country of brutality and insanity.

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 1:08am
  138. This is such an infringement of Human rights, come on U.N, do something xxx

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 1:09am
  139. Horrible.

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 1:14am
  140. Hey so the countries are supporting lgbt? Except russia?

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 1:17am
  141. WE STAND WITH YOU RUSSIA!!

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 1:18am