Peter Tatchell protesting in Russia at the 2018 FIFA World Cup | Photo: @PeterTatchell Twitter
LGBTI rights activist Peter Tatchell was arrested in Russia at the World Cup moments ago (14 June).
The veteran human rights defender is being detained by Moscow Police and taken to Tverskaya Police Station.
Grainy images and poor quality video shows Tatchell holding a sign reading: ‘Putin fails to go against Chechnya torture of gay people’.
He was led away by police and into a van.
Peter Tatchell detained in Russia at World Cup
Tatchell was arrested during a one-man protest. He was in Moscow to push LGBT+ rights ahead of World Cup.
Tatchell told Gay Star News that he wanted to stand in solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of persecuted LGBTs in Russia.
Speaking before, he said: ‘I will be exercising my lawful right to protest, under the Russian constitution.
The constitution protects freedom of expression and the right to protest in Articles 29 and 31. But only one-person protests, like Tatchell’s, can go ahead without permission from 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.
‘Unlike brave Russian protesters, I have the “protection” of a British passport, which means I have been treated more leniently than they are.
Tatchell’s placard was calling on Putin to take a stance on torture in the torture in Chechyna.
‘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.’
Last year, it was revealed Chechnya had concentration camps that were detaining, torturing and killing gay men.
President Ramzan Kadyrov denied the existence of LGBTI people in Chechnya, and then said he would have them all ‘killed by Ramadan’.
Tatchell politely but firmly marched off by police to a waiting car and the police station. Even tho one-person demo should be legal pic.twitter.com/3lOoPeExeU
— Shaun Walker (@shaunwalker7) June 14, 2018
Earlier today, GSN revealed an interview with an insider at the Russia Football Union. He reveals there is a conspiracy that claims that a murder ofana LGBTI person would be ‘covered up’:
Death threats and many warnings about LGBTI safety from officials
Thugs have already threatened to murder LGBTI fans.
Pride in Football – an alliance of LGBTI football fan groups – has had to report death threats to police.
Joe White, Pride in Football’s campaign leader, says the threats are being taken seriously.
‘We’ve had people say that if they find us they’ll stab us. So it’s been a mixture but they’re being dealt with seriously and those investigations are still ongoing,’ he says.
Broadcaster Anton Krasovsky, who lost his career after coming out on TV, has also warned LGBTI fans.
Speaking to HuffPost, he said Moscow is worth visiting because of its underground gay scene.
However, he added: ‘But what I’d also like to tell everyone is: don’t take a stand in public. It’s not safe.’
‘It’s not safe’
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Be on the Ball guide, has also strongly urged fans to not express they are LGBTI.
It states: ‘There is no reason not to come to the World Cup if you are LGBT+’
Confirming that though ame-sex sexual activity is not illegal in Russia they advise:
‘you do not publicly display your sexuality, but this is up to the individual.’
The guide warns that the country’s gay propaganda law ‘effectively prohibits public display of LGBT+ rights.’ It is also is ‘generally supported by the population due to the conservative and Christian Orthodox beliefs held by many.’
The St Petersburg group Coming Out has set up a safety hotline for any visiting fans who feel threatened.
They said ‘although Russia promises to demonstrate a high level of tolerance and security, foreign football organizations warn LGBT fans that there are no effective laws in Russia that would protect them against potential manifestations of intolerance.’
If you have been refused services for being LGBTI, are attacked or threatened with violence, accused of ‘gay propaganda’, you are welcome to call the hotline.
Call +7 (953) 170 97 71 or email [email protected]
This breaking story is developing…