Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Stoli Dumped in NY, SF to Protest Anti-Gay Russian Violence

We have our first report and photos from the NYC action today, thanks to the efforts of Joe at his fabulous web site, Joe.My.God. A report from San Francisco's action will appear later today.

With Russian news cameras rolling, rainbow flag creator Gilbert Baker and gay activist Brendan Fay poured Stolichnaya vodka into the street in front of New York City's Russian embassy in protest of the treatment of Russian gays by their government. Under the wary eye of the NYPD (who did NOT want to be photographed) and U.S. State Department operatives (the earpieces are a dead giveaway), a small group of protesters marched on the sidewalk with placards. Brendan Fay attempted to deliver a letter of complaint to the embassy staff, but they did not come to the door. ...
And now for the photos and report from the San Francisco solidarity action today:

(Veteran SF gay/AIDS activist Hank Wilson, on the left, talks to Mikhail of the Russian consulate.)

(Russian consulate employee Mikhail reaches for a boycott Stoli flyer.)

(Russian consulate employee Mikhail, in gray suit, confronts activists and the media.)

(Gay and human rights advocate pour Stoli into the street in front of the Russian consulate.)

An employee of the Russian consulate in San Francisco who would only give his first name, Mikhaill, today told a handful of gay and human rights advocates protesting the violence against gay Russians and allies on May 27 in Moscow that he was unaware of anti-gay mayhem.
About eight of us gathered at the consulate to tell the Russians to respect the human rights of its LGBT people, and to pour a bottle of Stolichnaya vodka out into the gutter as part of a boycott effort to send a message to Moscow.
We stood in front of the consulate for ten minutes before Mikhail and ordered us off the side walk. Since we weren't blocking the pavement, we didn't comply with his order and instead peppered him with questions about gay rights in Russia. He professed to know nothing about May 27 violence or the continuing problems faces by Russian LGBT people.
Members of the gay press, including the Bay Area Reporter, OnTheCastro.com and independent video bloggers snapped photos and shot videos of the conversation with Mikhail.
After he went back into the consulate, we stepped into the street and poured out the Stoli, an act of solidarity with the brave LGBT citizens of Russia.
All in all, our action in San Francisco, and the one in New York, were good steps forward in rekindling gay America's interest and commitment to global gay issues.

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