Russian Activists Protesting Anti-Gay Violence In Chechnya Arrested


More than a dozen Russian LGBTI activists have been arrested while protesting against the reported abduction and torture of gay men in the Russian region of Chechnya.

Russian media and human rights groups say at least 100 men have been detained and violently tortured because of their homosexuality in several secret prisons in Chechnya.

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A demonstration the activists held during a “May Day” worker’s rights march in St. Petersburg was broken up by Russian police in riot gear, with between 15 and 20 protesters arrested, according to Reuters and the New York Times.

In powerful photos posted to Twitter by freelance Russian photographer Dave Frenkel, activists can be seen wrapped in Chechen and rainbow flags and lying in the street, smeared with fake blood, to show solidarity with the persected Chechen men.

In Sydney, a group of 200 people protested the Chechen men’s plight outside the Russian embassy on Saturday evening.

The event was organised by LGBTI group DIY Rainbow and the 78ers, the original protesters who marched in what would become the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

“For those of us who struggled to emerge from our own past homophobic conditions characterizing our lives in Australia in the 1960s and 1970s, we express solidarity with our Chechen brothers and sisters,” the 78ers said in a statement.

“We assert the right for sexual minorities in all parts of the world to live without fear and be free from persecution, intimidation, entrapment, arbitrary arrest, and violence. We call for the Australian Government to reassert these rights.”

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has repeatedly denied the reports of the persecution of the gay men amid international outrage, and has even claimed Chechnya has no gay men at all.

Russia has said there’s no reason to doubt Kadyrov’s denials, even as survivors describe their horrific treatment while detained.

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(Top photo by Dave Frenkel via Twitter)