By Thom Senzee
Originally published on Advocate.com June 01 2014 11:25 AM ET
The Associated Press is reporting that two women were taken by police after participating in a small, but vocal demonstration in support of LGBT pride and against Russia's antigay law in Moscow Saturday.
Also Saturday, a video was posted on YouTube that appears to show the two protesters being attacked by at least one plainclothes thug just minutes before police apprehend them.
A separate, albeit much shorter Reuters video report depicts other protesters in the same vicinity as those in the You Tube video wearing wigs in reference to Eurovision winner and trans Austrian singer, Conchita Wurst driving in a car bearing large rainbow-striped Freedom Flag placards, presumably in support of the protest. Both incidents were held near the Moscow mayor's offices, according to Pink News, which described the protest as part of a small, unsanctioned "Moscow Pride" celebration.
“Every year it’s the same joke," a protester identified as Dana Frieder was quoted by Pink News as saying. "We just express our rights; police stop us and we are released two hours later. It’s depressing, but we are not afraid of the police. We fear homophobes, and we hope they will not come here.”
At the time of this writing, it was not known by any of the reporting news organizations, including the Associated Press, whether or not the protesters who were taken by police had been or would be charged with a crime.
Pink News also reports that a permit to hold the demonstration had been sought by organizers of Saturday's demonstration, but that Moscow city officials had denied their application due to safety concerns.
Pink News quotes one Moscow official as having said, "“We informed them that the event could not take place.”
While homosexuality itself was decriminalized by Russia nearly two decades ago, according to the Associated Press, most public expressions of pride in their sexual-orientation and/or gender-identities by LGBT people have fallen under a de facto ban since Russia's so-called "antigay propoganda law" was signed by Pres. Vladimir Putin last year.
Human rights and LGBT groups report a marked increase in violence against LGBT people in Russia since the law was enacted.