Russian gay activists arrested

25th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russian police arrested more than a dozen activists taking part in a banned Gay Pride rally in Saint Petersburg on Saturday.

About 15 people including the leader of Russia's gay community, Nikolei Alexeiev, gathered in the city centre holding signs saying "Homophobia is a disease" while attracting abuse from critics.

"Thirteen or fourteen people were arrested during an unauthorised demonstration in Dekabristov square and one person who tried to attack them," local police spokesman Viatcheslav Steptchenko told AFP.

Activists from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus took part in the rally on the day thousands marched at Gay Pride events in Paris and Berlin.

"We have the same rights as anyone but we're not allowed to express them," said protester Roman Nevassov.

Gay activists are viewed critically in Russia, where authorities have banned attempts to hold demonstrations over the years.

© 2011 AFP

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