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Police Release All LGBT Activists Detained in St. Petersburg

Source: (info), 02/05/12

· Right of assembly · Ministry of Internal Affairs  · Public protests  · St. Petersburg & Leningrad region  · Sexual minorities

On 2 May all 17 LGBT activists detained during May Day demonstrations were released by police. reports that the activists have been charged with failing to obey the lawful demands of police officers and with violating the regulations governing public events. The new law banning LGBT propaganda was once again not used.

Seven of the detainees were released from police department No. 78. They have been charged with disobeying the lawful demands of police officers and with violating the regulations governing public events. Earlier three activists refused to have their fingerprints taken.

The first group of ten detainees, who had been taken to police department No. 76, were also released. They were charged with the same offences. The police allege that participants in the march held in their hands placards and banners for which they did not have official permission, namely rainbow-coloured banners and rainbow flags of the worldwide LGBT movement.

Not one of those detained was charged on the basis on the new St Petersburg law banning so-called propaganda of homosexuality among minors, although initially the police based the detentions precisely on this ban, Rosbalt reports.

Now all those detained will have to appear in court in connection with the administrative charges brought against them.

The first LGBT activists were released at about 18:00 on 1 May. The first person to be released was a young woman who had been charged with carrying a banned symbol. This was a rainbow-coloured banner.

On 1 May LGBT activists in the Northern Capital took part in a May Day ‘Democratic March for Rights and Civic Freedoms and the Right to Elect Governors’. The activists together with opposition groups moved from St. Petersburg’s October Concert Hall at about 11:30. Participants in the march with rainbow flags were roughly detained. Police officers seized the activists without any explanation and took them to paddy wagons where they were held. Altogether 10 persons were detained.

After the large democratic march along Nevsky Prospect, a rally was held on Koniushennaya Square. Seven more LGBT activists were detained at the rally.