Gay Activists Arrested During Homophobia Protest at Russian Elections
Russian gay activist Nikolai Alexeyev (above) and more than a dozen others were arrested while protesting anti-gay Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov during the elections in Russia yesterday.
UK Gay News reports: "We were trying to vote," said Moscow gay pride organiser Nikolai Alexeyev, speaking from the police station where he was detained. "Men from the special services pushed us outside the polling station, put us in a bus and drove us to a police station." The group arrived at the polling station wanting to "protest collectively" against Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov – who was expected at the same polling station an hour later – and against all parties running in the legislative elections by spoiling their voting ballots. There was no direct protest, Mr Alexeyev said. It was simply a matter of "spoiling" their ballot papers by writing "No to Homophobes" across their paper.
The activists were detained for a period of three hours after which they were released, the paper reports.
In related news, election monitors are reporting that the Russian vote has been manipulated to reveal "a sweeping parliamentary election victory" for President Vladimir Putin's United Russia party:
"With ballots from nearly 98 percent of precincts counted, Putin's United Russia party was leading with 64.1 percent of the vote, the Central Election Commission said — which would give it a sweep of 70 percent of seats in parliament. The only opposition party to make it into parliament, the Communists, trailed with just 11.6 percent of the vote, with Kremlin-allied parties claiming the rest of Sunday's vote. The Communists, Liberals and foreign observers criticized the vote as unfair. Opposition leader Garry Kasparov, the ex-chess champion, denounced the vote Monday as 'the most unfair and dirtiest in the whole history of modern Russia.'"
Putin called the results "a sign of trust" on national television: "Russians will never allow the nation to take a destructive path, as happened in some other ex-Soviet nations."