Two Men Arrested After Protesting St. Petersburg's Antigay Law

By Neal Broverman

Originally published on Advocate.com April 06 2012 1:15 PM ET

Two gay activists stood up against St. Petersburg's draconian new antigay law and were promptly arrested.

Alexei Kiselyov and Cyril Nepomnyashiy staged individual protests Thursday in front of the Palace of Youth Creativity. Holding signs saying "Gay — this is normal," the men voiced anger at the city's new antigay law, which bans "propaganda of homosexuality to minors" but is widely seen as an indictment of anything LGBT-related.

The two activists face up to 15 days in prison for taking part in a "public event that was not authorized by the city authorities and of disobeying the lawful demands of police officers," according to GayRussia. The men will be represented in court by prominent Russian LGBT activist Nikolai Alekseev.

"They are only trying to convey to the public capital scientific truth that homosexuality is not a disease but a natural and normal sexual orientation," Alekseev told Gay Star News. "But yesterday’s arrests show that this prohibition is being broadly construed, enforcing the denial of the right of freedom of expression for LGBT people."