Gay rights cam­paigner ar­rested over protest

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - NEWS -

Gay rights cam­paigner Peter Tatchell has been ar­rested in Moscow af­ter stag­ing a one-man protest near the Krem­lin.

He was de­tained near the statue of Mar­shal Zhukov, in a pub­lic square which was busy with foot­ball fans, while hold­ing a poster at­tack­ing Rus­sian pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin.

It read: “Putin fails to act against Chech­nya tor­ture of gay peo­ple.”

Sev­eral po­lice of­fi­cers moved in to de­tain him and told him he had bro­ken the law in Rus­sia.

He was al­lowed to walk to a nearby po­lice car where he was ques­tioned be­fore be­ing trans­ferred to another car and be­ing driven to a po­lice sta­tion.

Mr Tatchell shouted “OK” as he left the first ve­hi­cle be­fore be­ing flanked by two of­fi­cers in the car which drove him away.

The Peter Tatchell Foun­da­tion is­sued a state­ment shortly af­ter his ar­rest, in which he said: “I was ex­er­cis­ing my law­ful right to protest, un­der the Rus­sian con­sti­tu­tion, which guar­an­tees free­dom of ex­pres­sion and the right to protest in Ar­ti­cles 29 and 31.

“A one-per­son protest, which is what I did, re­quires no per­mis­sion from the au­thor­i­ties and the po­lice.

“Get­ting ar­rested is stan­dard for Rus­sians who protest for LGBT+ rights or against cor­rup­tion, eco­nomic in­jus­tice and Rus­sia’s an­nex­a­tion of Crimea and its bomb­ing of civil­ians in Syria.”

He said he had been treated more le­niently than Rus­sian pro­test­ers be­cause of his Bri­tish pass­port.

On his rea­sons for stag­ing the protest, Mr Tatchell said be­fore his ar­rest: “Lit­tle ac­tion has been taken by the Rus­sian gov­ern­ment and po­lice to crack down on far right ex­trem­ists who tar­get LGBT+ peo­ple for vi­o­lent and hu­mil­i­at­ing as­saults – in­clud­ing the in­sti­ga­tors of the cur­rent threats to bash and stab LGBT+ foot­ball fans at the World Cup.”

Peter Tatchell speaks out.

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