Police detains over 30 protesting LGBT activists in Moscow - monitoring group

by Reuters
Saturday, 27 June 2020 16:23 GMT

Russian police officers detain a participant for staging a picket in support of journalist Ilya Azar, following a court's decision to jail him for his one-person protest during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown, in Moscow, Russia May 29, 2020. A writing on the participant's protective face mask reads: "Sobyanin (Mayor of Moscow Sergei Sobyanin) to resign". REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

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The group was protesting the arrest of a prominent LGBT activist who was charged for spreading pornography on Facebook

MOSCOW, June 27 (Reuters) - Russian police on Saturday detained more than 30 people, most of them women, who were staging separate one-person protests in central Moscow against charges of spreading pornography levelled against a prominent LGBT activist, a monitoring group said.

One activist was also detained in St. Petersburg, OVD-Info, the monitoring group said.

Earlier this month, police in the Russian Far East charged Julia Tsvetkova, an LGBT and feminist activist, with spreading pornography via her pictures, she said on her Facebook page.

If found guilty, Tsvetkova may face up to six years in prison.

One of those detained in Moscow held a placard saying: "Today they send to prison for pictures, tomorrow they will send to prison for letters? Freedom for Julia Tsvetkova!"

One-person protests are usually legal in Russia. However there have been numerous cases of demonstrators being detained.

Police declined to comment on the detentions on Saturday.

Western governments and human rights activists have criticised the Russian authorities for their treatment of LGBT people.

A vote on proposed changes to the Russian constitution is ongoing. Among many amendments proposed by President Vladimir Putin is an article defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin Editing by James Drummond and Peter Graff)