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Riot Police Break Up Pride Events in Minsk

Jim Burroway

May 15th, 2010

Reuters reports:

Belarussian police on Saturday broke up a gay and lesbian pride demonstration by about 20 participants who defied an official ban to gather on a side street in central Minsk and march with bright rainbow flags.

Some carried handwritten signs saying, “Today they ban gays, tomorrow they will ban you,” in a short-lived protest that was the first of its kind organized by the Russian and Belarussian Slavic Pride rights group in the capital.

Police wearing black berets and armed with batons moved in after the protesters advanced about 300 meters down the street. They tore away the flags and hauled off the marchers, some of whom had traveled from Russia for the event.

“The police reaction was completely disproportionate to the threat which they thought the protesters posed,” Russian activist Nikolai Alekseev told Reuters.

UK Gay News anticipated the potential trouble in Minsk and has been live-blogging Pride events the entire weekend. Here’s their description of the crackdown:

Minsk had its gay pride march.  For just 10 minutes, 40  Belarusians and Russians waived a 12 meters long rainbow flag for a short march of approximately 200 meters.  They were at first met by a large group of journalists, photographers and TV crew.  But when they reached the first crossing point, they were trapped by several vans of anti-riot police.  Suddenly, the doors of the vans opened and anti-riot officers ran towards the participants. “I never saw anything of the kind” said Nikolai Alekseev by mobile phone.  “They were brutal and violent” he added.  Another participant who did not want to be named said: “It was like a group of wild dogs”.  The march ended with most of the participants being arrested and violently beaten.  A few managed to escape but the police ran after them.

Twelve people were reportedly detained by police. It appears that at least eight of them have been released, but must appear in court on Monday.

The planned march, which had been banned by Minsk authorities, was just one of several events planned by the Minsk LGBT community. Other private events, including a dance scheduled for Saturday night, appear to have gone on without incident, and sometimes with police protection from skinhead protesters.

Here is video of the march:

YouTube Preview Image

Comments

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johnathan
May 16th, 2010 | LINK

These brave Belorussian men and women who participated in the pride event. For me, this only reiterates the fact that, with all of the crap we deal with in American culture, there are other societies where it is MUCH worse. Speaking of which, if you want to be exposed to some vile hatred and homophobia, click on the YouTube video and read some of the comments regarding this pride march. I don’t know if these comments are from real people or merely “trolls,” but…sad indeed.

Cole
May 17th, 2010 | LINK

Heterosexual police enforcing heterosexual supremacy… totally expected. But you won’t here any gay person say that explicitly, they will make it sound like that is just the way it is. Gay people continue to ignore heteosexual prejudices.

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