The Russian Embassy in Pretoria
Activists have expressed their anger that the organiser of Sunday’s shambolic LGBT protest outside the Russian Embassy in Pretoria failed to attend.
The demonstration was intended to show solidarity with the beleaguered Russian LGBT community and was part of an international day of protest, with similar events planned in cities around the world.
However, organiser Monique Walker failed to arrive at the event on Sunday, leaving the around 30 or so people who attended confused and unsure as to what was happening.
Mambaonline received reports that a group of Russian officials came in to the Pretoria Embassy on Sunday specifically to meet Walker.
Police were also present at the Embassy to secure the protest but found themselves with little to do.
People who arrived to take part in the demonstration soon left as they realised that the event was not going ahead as planned.
According to one protester, who asked not to be named, the proceedings were “an embarrassment”.
Walker did not respond to phone calls on the day and Mambaonline was not able to contact her on Monday by phone.
Writing on the Facebook event page on Sunday evening, she said: “i thank all who attended the protest. i would have been so proud to be with you. my lungs just would not let me. hate asthma and what it does to me. thank you once again.”
Activist Steve Letsike, who attended the event, described Walker’s no-show and her Facebook statement as an “insult to the LGBT community, the embassy officials, and the police”.
She said: “If you want to host an event to raise awareness to challenge global issues, for me it’s critical that you manage the process adequately. You cannot waste diplomats’ time, and people’s time when you are not there as an organiser.
“It’s another missed opportunity to highlight what our comrades in Russia are experiencing,” said Letsike.
Last month, kiss-in protests were held outside the Russian Embassy in Pretoria and the Consulate in Cape Town, organised by Johannesburg Pride and Cape Town Pride.