Russia

Human rights activists target Russian anti-gay law at G20 protests

Elena Ignatyeva, AP
Police officers snatch an artwork representing leaders of the G20 summit during a protest Wednesday against G20 Summit in front of Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia. Staff Reports

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — Spaced out along St. Petersburg’s main thoroughfare, about a dozen human rights activists staged individual protests to attract the attention of leaders of the world’s biggest economies to human rights violations in Russia.

Activist Iosiph Skakovsky said they held individual protests because mass protests are often banned or disrupted by police.

Elena Ignatyeva, AP
Police officers snatch an artwork representing leaders of the G20 summit during a protest Wednesday against G20 Summit in front of Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Activist Natalya Tsymbalova was protesting “discrimination of sexual minorities, falsification of elections, pressure on NGOs, violation of the freedom of public assembly.”

Her handmade poster said that Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s claim that gays are not discriminated against was a lie. “There is discrimination. Speak out for Russia!”

Police checked the documents of individual protesters but did not interfere in their actions.

On Wednesday, a dozen art workers from the Muzei Vlasti tried to stage a protest in front of Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg, and took out the artwork by Russian artist Konstantin Altunin to unfold it for passers-by in downtown St. Petersburg but police withdrew it.

The recently enacted law banning homosexual “propaganda” makes it illegal to expose minors to information that portrays “nontraditional sexual relations” as normal or attractive. Authors of the bill have justified it as a measure aimed at protecting children, and not suppressing the LGBT community.

On Thursday, a Russian lawmaker proposed a bill that would deny gay parents custody over their children.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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