Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hundreds Protest
Anti-Gay Russian Laws at Embassy in Berlin

Now this is what I call fabulous organizing! Before the protest, a news release was circulated on listervs and after it took place, the organizers wrote a short news account of who, what, where, why, when, etc., and they included several photos.

Thank you, all who paraded in Berlin in the cold for the gay, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people in Russia. I honor you all by running your report back to the community, in full, and include a few photos.

On behalf of Gays Without Borders/San Francisco, we salute you and stand in solidarity with our Russian brothers and sisters.

Here's the entire report from Berlin:

A rally was held on Wednesday, February 15, outside the Russian embassy in Berlin to demonstrate against the homophobic laws which are continuing to be introduced throughout various cities in Russia. The demonstration was attended by over 200 people including LGBT activists as well as members of the German Bundestag, the Berlin parliament and representatives from trade unions.

"We express solidarity with the LGBT community in Russia," said Marieluise Beck (Green Party) Head of the Commission on Eastern European Politics in the German Bundestag, "No one forced Russia to join the Council of Europe. Joining, however, Russia signed under the European Convention on Human Rights, which includes the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people."

Tom Schreiber (Social Democrat), a parliamentary member in Berlin: "I will insist that issues of discrimination against the LGBT community in Russia is regularly raised in Berlin and will make every effort to ensure that these discussions result in specific resolutions backed up by specific support."

During the demonstration, participants signed a petition to the deputies of the St.Petersburg Legislative Assembly and the Governor of St. Petersburg, which will be handed over to them in the near future.

After the meeting protestors marched through the main streets of Berlin. The demonstrators chanted slogans against homophobia in Russia and passersby showed their support. The demonstration ended at Potsdamer Platz - the very heart of the Berlin and the focus of the Berlinale Film Festival. The head of the Berlinale Section "Panorama" and founder of the Teddy Award Wieland Speck spoke to demonstrators:

"The representation of gays and lesbians in the arts and culture can not be denied. Every year there are more and more LGBT films in those countries where this topic has been previously a taboo. We will continue to support the St. Petersburg Side by Side Film Festival which is fighting for a space within the public domain for LGBT people in Russia.

Qvarteera (Germany)
Side by Side LGBT Film Festival (Saint Petersburg)
Rainbow Association (Moscow)
Lesbian and Gay Association of Germany (LSVD),
Hirschfeld-Eddy-Stiftung (Germany)

Photographs by Dasha Zorkina

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