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Five gay people were arrested outside Russia’s embassy in Paris on July 8.
They were attempting to present a petition from AllOut.org, signed by some 14,000 people, opposing Moscow’s years-long ban on gay pride and Russia’s flouting of a European Court of Human Rights ruling that the bans violate European law.
Arrested were ACT UP/Paris’ Audrey Grelombe and Eric Marty, International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia President Louis-Georges Tin, Moscow Pride founder Nikolai Alekseev and American photographer Charles Meacham.
They reportedly were detained for not having permission to gather. Early reports suggested Alekseev might face an additional charge for some kind of alleged altercation with a police officer.
Alekseev was held in custody much longer than the other detainees. Upon his release, he Facebooked: “Spent 10.5 hours under arrest in Paris police station. It is my first arrest outside of Russia. Hello to Sarkozy and Delanoë! It is the first time I am being put in handcuffs (did not even happen in Russia). My fingerprints were taken 3 (!!!) times… I was violently attacked by the furious police officer who even wanted to open criminal case against me! There is a saying: ‘To see Paris and to die.’ Today I can rephrase it this way: ‘I saw Paris and don’t want to die. Paris died for me.’ Forever!”
Later in the evening, some 45 people protested at the embassy against the earlier incident. Reports said 150 anti-riot police and 25 police vans showed up for the second demonstration.