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Russian LGBT Film Festival Opening Delayed By Bomb Threat

Jim Burroway

November 22nd, 2013

St. Petersburg’s sixth annual Side by Side (Бок о Бок) Film Festival opened yesterday after about a two hour delay due to a bomb hoax. QueerRussia reports:

The  grand festival opening scheduled for the evening  of November, 21 is disrupted. A call of a bomb threat in the “Warshavsky Express” cinema is delaying the opening ceremony and screening of the first film of the festival. With all guests being evaquated, police began checking up the building.

About 200 guests arrived at the opening. Aggressive opponents of LGBT also gathered near the cinema, but police is holding them back. After checking, the building is still going to host the first screening, Rosbalt reports.

Earlier this day, a regular guest at LGBT events and concurrently the head of the St. Petersburg ” Narodniy Sobor” antigay group Anatoly Artyukh attacked LGBT activist Kirill Kalugin. “I was in a coffee shop at the “Warshavsky Express ” drinking coffee when I was attacked by Artyukh. He snatched a mug from my his hands, trying to pour it over me and to pull the earring out of my ear , grabbed my hands and spitted on me . Now I’m in the 77 police station. Artyukh said I was trying to assult him”, Kirill told Rosbalt.

The film festival began after the police cleared the shopping center. Organizers say they are ” in contact with police chiefs in order to oversee the safety and order at events.” On November 30, Side by Side will feature a special screening of the film Milk, followed by a discussion with director Gus Van Sant, producer Bruce Cohen, and screenwriter Dustin Lance Black.

Just last month, Side by Side won an important court battle when the City Court of St. Petersburg overturned two previous court decisions which found the film festival guilty of failing to register as a “foreign agent.”

Comments

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JEM
November 23rd, 2013 | LINK

I am really surprised that this film festival hasn’t been cancelled by the police. How is it going on despite the anti-gay laws?

Jim Burroway
November 23rd, 2013 | LINK

Technically, the law bans “homosexual propaganda” to minors, although the ban is interpreted liberally (minors can see anything on TV, in print and in the streets or in any other public place, they’ll say). You’ll notice the “18+” on the film festival poster, which is meant to get around the law.

JEM
November 23rd, 2013 | LINK

Thanks for the clarification.

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