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Today, Dec. 19, 2012, Russian LGBT activists in different cities took to the streets protesting against a new amendment (article 6.13.1) to the Administrative Offences Code of the Russian Federation which creates administrative responsibility for so called 'propaganda of homosexualism." The protests were took place despite the fact that the State Duma moved the first reading of draft law at the very last moment to Jan. 22, 2013.
In Moscow 20 activists from Russian LGBT network and Equality March gathered for a series of one-man pickets with banners "We are against article 6.13.1," "For freedom of views and believes, against totalitarian law" and other. The pickets took place from 9 till 11 am near the Russian State Duma building. And although at the same time the pickets of so called Orthodox activists took place nearby, there were no one arrested.
At noon LGBT activists approached the Duma to hold a "Propaganda of love" protest act involving couples kissing in front of the Duma building (homosexual as well as heterosexual ones). In several minutes the Orthodox activists started to throw eggs at the LGBT activists, some of aggressive men attacked the couples. The police arrested 18 people around 12:30 pm. Among them were 11 participants, five Orthodox activists and two journalists. All arrested were handed into a prison truck, where they were kept for more than two hours without being informed about the reason of their arrest. Now they are still in the police station.
In St. Petersburg there were also one man pickets. 5 LGBT activists from "St. Petersburg LGBT-organization Coming Out" and from the "Straights for the LGBT equality Alliance" protested in Malaya Sadovaya Street. The police watched the pickets but arrested no one.
In -35C frozen Tomsk Russian LGBT network activist Natalia Mizina protested in front of the regional Administration building for 30 minutes. She wasn't arrested as well.
There was an approved protest rally in Samara. It's interesting that the city government rejected the rally in the proposed place but approved it in the Safono's boulevard near a school. Six people took place in a rally, there were about the same number of policemen and journalists. Some of people passing by took side of the activists. No one was arrested in Samara despite the fact that there is a law prohibiting so called "propaganda of homosexuality."
In Arkhangelsk there were 3 pickets near the Regional Deputy Assembly for the Russian LGBT network campaign "Against article 6.13.1."
You can find photos and video on our Facebook page.
You will find information on how individuals and organizations can support the campaign "Against Article 6.13.1" in the text below.
Campaign "Against Article 6.13.1" in Russia
On December 19, 2012, the State Duma of the Russian Federation will consider in the first reading a draft law banning the so-called "propaganda of homosexualism" nationally.
The Russian LGBT Network launched a campaign aimed at preventing the inclusion of Article 6.13.1 in the Code of Administrative Offences and at
raising awareness of the authorities and society about the dangerous consequences of the law on "propaganda."
Now we turn to the international community - LGBT and human rights organizations, activists, and all like-minded people - for your support of the campaign.
Here are several suggestions on what one could do.
1. Release an official statement on the Russian "propaganda" law.
2. Join our community photo action "I'm against article 6.13.1." You only need to take a picture of yourself with a sign that reads "I'm against article 6.13.1 in Russia" and share it by posting it in your social networks and sending to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments to the photos that would explain your position on the "propaganda" law are very welcome, we will share them with our supporters and subscribers online.
3. Record a short video (1.5 minutes) "Why I'm against Article 6.13.1." Please send your videos to email@example.com. We would like to kindly ask you to choose either English or Russian for these videos.
4. Support our street demonstrations that will be held on December 19th in Moscow and a number of Russian regions by organizing or joining a demonstration in front of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in your country.
5. Address the authorities in your country regarding your government's possible statement on the Russian national "homosexual propaganda" law.
6. Pass this information further.
If you have any questions regarding the development and the campaign, or if you have any suggestions, please send an email to Maria Kozlovskaya (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Anastasia Smirnova (email@example.com).
Thank you in advance for your consideration and solidarity!
Team of the Russian LGBT Network