Choi Beaten, Arrested in Russia

By Michelle Garcia

Originally published on Advocate.com May 28 2011 1:35 PM ET

Army veteran and gay activist Dan Choi and Chicago activist Andy Thayer were among at least 18 people who were mobbed at a gay pride parade in Moscow by police and a group of neo-Nazis Saturday. 
 
Video of the attack was posted on AmericaBlog, in which Choi and Thayer are walking quietly when a mob of uniformed and undercover police attack them. According to British gay rights activist Peter Tatchell, the arrests took place between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Moscow time. 
 
Choi and seven others were carted off to Presnensky police station in Moscow after the attack. He and the other foreign protesters were released without a charge or fine, but the Russians will have to remain overnight. Tatchell said that neither of the lead organizers, Nikolai Alekseev nor Nikolai Baev, were arrested, and it is unclear if Alekseev actually participated in the protest since he was badly injured Thursday from a fall. 
 
"Anna Komarova, who is under arrest, reports being pressured by the police to give information about the organization of Moscow Gay Pride," said Tatchell, who was at the event. "The police are threatening to detain her for 48 hours unless she gives them the information they want."
 
 Louis Georges-Tin, a French academic and founder of the International Day Against Homophobia, was reportedly sent into isolation after singing Bizet's "Toreador," as was Choi after yelling "Discriminatzya!" He added that foreign protesters were being treated better than Russian protesters by police, evidenced by the fact that they were allowed to retain their cell phones while behind bars. The Russian demonstrators were Tim Magomedor, Alexy Kiselev, Elizaveta Nikitina, Alexander Shiriaev, and Andzey Zayziev, all in their mid 20s.