“Day Of Silence” Events Staged In Russia

Jim Burroway

May 6th, 2008

Day of Silence

From UK Gay News comes word of the first Day of Silence held last weekend in three cities across Russia. Day of Silence events were held on Saturday in St. Petersburg, Novokuznetsk and Yaroslavl. Two participants in St. Petersburg were assaulted following a rally and skinheads attacked participants in Novokuznetsk. Nevertheless, organizers counted the events a rousing success.

BrochureSt. Petersburg officials had initially given permission for a public Day of Silence demonstration, but this permission was rescinded a few days before the event. In response, the organizers scaled back their plans and staged individual protests in St. Petersburg’s Chrenyshevskiy Park since individual demonstrations don’t require approval by authorities. For two hours, the participants stood silently with a banner that read, “I am silent to be heard.” Their mouths were taped shut as they handed out flyers to passersby.

According to one report, the Day of Silence participants were guarded by ten policemen during the demonstration. The rally in the park went off without incident, but two of the participants were attacked afterwards by three assailants as they made their way to a nearby café. Igor Petrov, one of the Day of Silence organizers, and Ignat Fialkovskiy, the press secretary of the International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival Side by Side, suffered kicks and bruises requiring medical treatment. Formal complaints have been filed with the police.

Day of Silence participants in Novokuznetsk
In Novokuznetsk in central Russia, twenty volunteers responded to a “flash mob” appeal sent through social networks. Despite the bad weather, organizers were pleased with the response. However a group of skinheads attacked several participants, injuring one young man.

The organizer of the group from Yaroslavl, 160 miles northeast of Moscow reported that nine people took part in their “flash mob.” No problems were reported there.

Despite the problems encountered in Novokuznetsk and St. Petersburg, Russian Day of Silence organizers consider the actions a rousing success:

We were able to achieve the most important thing — the word about the problem of emotional harassment and violence, discrimination and intolerance based on sexual orientation and gender identity reached many people, while the attacks on the participants of the event in St. Petersburg and Novokuznetsk confirmed the relevance of the problem.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lCXfYqhADA

Hat tip: UK Gay News

Ruslan Porshnev

May 6th, 2008

Jim, thanks a lot for posting this. I am in close contact with the group of organizers in St-Petersburg.

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