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Violence Against LGBT People In St. Petersburg Becoming Systemic

Source: (info), 15/06/12

· Leningrad region and St. Petersburg  · Sexual minorities

Members of the Straights for LGBT Equality Alliance have expressed serious concern at the way the situation has developed following the 12th June attack on gay rights activists by a nationalist group.

According to the organisation’s media office, aggression aimed at LGBT people and heterosexual people who support them is becoming systemic in the northern capital, with no action taken by police.

Their statement reads: “On 12th June, less than a month since the 17th May attack in the centre of St. Petersburg by unknown masked individuals on a bus carrying migrant workers, mistaken for people taking part in the traditional government-approved Rainbow Flashmob, LGBT activists and heterosexual people protesting against discrimination towards their fellow citizens, friends and loved ones, were targeted again”, Rosbalt Information Agency reports.

Alliance activists claim that St. Petersburg, the cultural capital of Russia and the heroic city of Leningrad which did not submit to the fascists, is developing a reputation as one of Russia’s most xenophobic and intolerant cities.

The Straights for LGBT Equality Alliance connects the increasingly frequent violence against sexual minorities with the controversial new law outlawing “homosexual propaganda” aimed at minors.

“Alliance members believe that this law is disgraceful and absurd, and in no way related to concern for children’s morality. It not only goes against modern science and all international standards, but it also contravenes human rights guaranteed by the Russian Constitution by promoting the stirring up of hatred amongst people”, Alliance activists commented.

They also believe that the police’s refusal to act is nothing short of connivance and criminal negligence. “It gives free reign to far-right extremists, who are aware of their impunity”, the organisation believes.

Members of the Alliance are outraged at the authorities’ accommodation of forces that “are dragging the country towards the stirring up of hatred and in the direction of fascism”. They believe that public organisations and citizens who promote one group’s superiority over another and stoke social hatred and animosity should be brought to justice.

“The authorities should not take their cue from extremists and conceal discrimination and fascism behind ‘majority’ opinion”, the statement reads.

On 12th June, at the end of the Russia Day Without Putin protest rally, nationalists resorted to violence following a dispute with gay rights activists. The latter were forced to fight against the aggressive skinhead youths with flagpoles, one of which ended up in the Griboyedov Canal. Rosbalt’s correspondent reported that two men identified by the gay rights activists were held by police and had their documents inspected. The police are currently running a pre-investigation check, as a result of which criminal proceedings may be pursued.