Peter Tatchell arrested in Russia for staging anti-Putin protest
Updated | Leading human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell was detained in Russia, after staging a one man protest against the country’s president Vladimir Putin’s response to the torture of gay people in Chechnya.
The LGBT rights activist was arrested near Moscow’s Red Square. He had been standing beside a statue of Marshal Zhukov, near the Kremlin, holding a placard that read: “Putin fails to act against Chechnya torture of gay people.”
Cops soon approached him and walked him to a police car where he was questioned, and then driven off to Tverskaya Police Station.
Tatchell’s official Twitter account confirmed the news, posting: “Confirmed. Peter has been detained by Moscow Police and taken to Tverskaya Police Station. #RainbowRussians and #WorldCup2018.”
His account has since posted that the human rights campaigner has been released on bail.
A statement on Tatchell’s Twitter account reads: “Peter Tatchell has been released. I’ve spoken to the Consulate Gen. who says he has been bailed & treated well.
“Thank you for the all the good wishes. Let’s remember the awful plight of LGBTs in Russian & Chechnya.”
His account also posted a video of Tatchell speaking to police prior to his arrest.
Is Peter Tatchell under arrest? We think so. The live feed of his protest near the Kremlin is hard to watch. Judge for yourself. https://t.co/2IGKRZqibw apologies for poor quality.
— Peter Tatchell (@PeterTatchell) June 14, 2018
Tatchell’s arrest comes just hours before Russia opens the World Cup by playing a match against Saudi Arabia.
Speaking before his arrest in Moscow, Tatchell 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.
“Unlike brave Russian protesters, I have the ‘protection’ of a British passport, which means I have been treated more leniently than they are.”
He added: “My fate was mild compared to what often happens to Russians who dare to challenge the Putin regime. I am awed by their courage.”
“President Putin has failed to condemn and act against the homophobic witch-hunts in Chechnya, which have seen scores of LGBT+ people arrested and tortured, with some even being killed.
LGBT rights activists have voiced widespread concerns over the safety of LGBT football fans at the World Cup.
Yesterday, a leading Russian campaigner, Anton Krasovsky, warned that gay fans are “not safe” at the World Cup.
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The UK government has already warned LGBT football fans heading to the Word Cup to hide their sexuality in public.
Earlier today, PinkNews reported on a gay football fan, who was viciously attacked in St Petersburg.
Tatchell, born in 1952, has been campaigning for human rights since 1967 – and has been arrested multiple times, including in Russia before.
In 2007, he was attacked by neo-Nazis – when he suffered brain damage – and arrested at the Moscow Gay Pride parade. He was also arrested on a later visit.