Russia: QueerFest culture festival ‘sprayed with gas’ by homophobic thugs

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Anti-gay activists have attacked an LGBT culture festival in St Petersburg, spraying participants with a harmful gas.

The International Queer Culture Festival, which was held in the city despite Russia’s homophobic laws, had already been forced out of its original venue.

However, having succeeded in moving to a new venue at the last minute, the event – which had over 160 attendees – was raided by homophobic thugs.

Organiser Polina Andrianova told GLAAD: “About 20 hooligans sprayed guests with green substance and some sort of putrid gas.

“At one point, two foreign guests were being pulled into the venue by the security while being pulled out by their feet by the perpetrators.

“The police, who carried themselves professionally, were taking numerous statements by the victims, while St Petersburg ombudsman urged more people to document violations.”

The event continued in spite of the attacks, however.

Polina Andrianova added: “We feel exhausted and exhilarated. Thanks to the work of 40 volunteers, partners, and random kindness by strangers and by passers, our event was a success.

“People – their rights – but also their light and kindness, is what our festival is all about. And there are more of them around us every day. That is why we will prevail”