Gay activist Alexander Sheremetev is attacked by a
thug on Sunday. (Pic: Gay Russia)

The 14 activists arrested in a bid to hold the annual Slavic Gay Pride in St. Petersburg have been released after being detained for 24 hours.

According to reports by GayRussia and UK Gay News, Saturday’s event, which had been banned by the authorities, was attended by around 20 activists from Russia and Belarus.

They held up banners and flags with slogans such as “No to homophobia” and “Equal Rights”. The city’s governor, rumoured to be an alcoholic, was lambasted in a poster which read “Alcoholism is a disease, homosexuality is not”.

The activists’ efforts, which lasted just a few minutes, were marred by attacks from rightwing protestors and intervention by the police. Alexander Sheremetyev, one of the Pride organisers, was injured in an attack.

Fourteen participants were arrested, charged with “disobeying police orders” and fined between 10 and 21 euros. They were released on Sunday afternoon and must appear in court again in July.

Moscow authorities have also repeatedly refused to allow gay Pride events to take place in that city.

Russia has ignored an October 2010 ruling by the European Court of Human Rights finding that it had violated the right to freedom of assembly of LGBT people by repeatedly banning Pride events.

Slavic Gay Pride aims to highlight “the struggle of Pride organisers in post soviet countries where freedom of assembly is still non-existent for LGBT people”.

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