Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Brody's Notes... Russian Gay Activist Alekseev Arrested With Others At Anti-Luzhkov Rally in Moscow

Nikolai Alekseev Protesting At Moscow City Hall 
Photo By Kirill Nepomnyaschiy
From The Editors Of UKGayNews (London, UK) SEPT 22 | Nikolai Alekseev, Russia’s high profile gay activist, was among eleven activists reported to have been arrested outside Moscow City Hall this evening.  All have now been realeased, it is understood.
“Today it was like a VIP service at the police station,” Mr. Alekseev said on his release. “The police did everything to write the protocols and get rid of us as fast as possible.  We have been charged for taking part into an unsanctionned event only and not for disobying police orders.  As a result, the maximum sentence is a fine. My case is scheduled for Oct 6.
“I have never seen any such service from this police station in the last five years that I have been regularly taken there when conducting our actions,” he said.
And in a twist to the story, he said: “Luzhkov will be taken to court, well, at least his image. The police confiscated the doll of the Mayor that I was carrying at the protest and they will bring it as a proof to Court.”
The activists were taking part in a demonstration against the homophobic mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, and his “faggots” remark which a Moscow court ruled recently was not hate speech.
Those arrested were said to have chained themselves to the railings outside City Hall.
AFP's videographer in Moscow being arrested with a camera despite telling the police that she came to cover the event.  She was almost immediately released.  Photo By Kirill Nepomnyaschiy

Also reported arrested was a reporter from Agence France Presse.  She was seen by activists being hauled into a police van.  But Mr. Alekseev told UK Gay News later that she was not taken to the police station and was presumably released without charge.  He also confirmed his and ten others' arrest.
The eleven activists were taken to the Tverskoy Police Station in Moscow.
Mr. Alekseev said that he was injured during his arrest.  He was speaking by telephone from inside a police van from which  other  activists were heard chanting “happy birthday Mayor Luzhkov” – it is the Mayor’s 74th birthday today.
Later, he said that his left wrist was twisted during the arrest.  “It will take a while to heal, but I am OK,” he told UK Gay News by telephone.
The Mayor is said to holidaying in Austria at one of his several properties in Western Europe with his second wife Yelena Baturina, a dollar billionaire who is said to be the richest woman in Russia.
On Saturday, Mr. Alekseev returned to Moscow after a 72-hour ordeal which started when he was abducted at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport as he was about to board a Swiss Air Lines flight to Geneva.