The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia became one of the most populous actions held by the Russian gay rights activists in recent years. Yesterday, the ‘Rainbow Flashmob’ action event launched all over Russia at the same time of day in various regions of the country.
Among the first was Khabarovsk where the assortment of rainbow-colored balloons rose into the sky over the Amur river. The May 17 action event took place there for the third time in a row which draws the attention of more and more people each year. This year, about a hundred participants gathered to celebrate the day.
In Cheboksary, there was a fear the action would be disrupted due to stormy weather, but the sky cleared just in time for the event to begin. In Pskov, a small group of activists released bright bunches of rainbow-colored balloons into the sky in the afternoon. More people, with up to 20 to 30 participants, attended flashmobs in Tomsk and Tyumen.
St. Petersburg's ComingOutSPB's event went without a hitch. This year the rally was coordinated with the city authorities. The activists gathered at a distant location, away from the crowded places over in the Aviators' Park and everything went very well. Rain and strong winds did not interfere with the plans and police officers were present to maintain the security of participants. Despite the threats received from the neo-nazi supremacists and religious fundamentalists, no incidents were reported.
New information about the Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia events keeps coming in from various cities all over Russia. Overall, by yesterday evening, over 20 cities reported about their ‘Rainbow Flashmobs’, including Perm, Krasnodar, Volgograd and Petrozavodsk. For the first time, Birobidzhan and Bryansk appeared on the human rights rainbow map.
In Krasnodar, police detained several participants of the flashmob. Russian LGBT Network immediately began working towards the release of the detainees. Yesterday, their lawyers were conferring with the activists regarding their release.
St. Petersburg, May 17, 2011
In neighboring Belarus, 14 members of the ‘GayBelarus’ movement were detained after they attempted to hold the human rights rally near the Presidential Administration building.
Ukrainian gay activists also met that day with rainbow spirit in Odessa, Kiev, Dnepropetrovsk and other cities.