Monday, May 17, 2010

International: Belarus Pride Marchers Arrested (video)

Reuters news agency reports that between 5 and 10 people were arrested in the Belarus capital of Minsk on Saturday for taking part in a peaceful Slavic Pride march. Members of Moscow Pride were also taking part and some were arrested as well. The march was the first ever in the former Soviet satellite. The group of about 20 gay and lesbian activists marched in defiance of an official ban of the event.

The march lasted only 10 minutes and had only traveled about 300 meters when police vans pulled up, police in riot gear poured out and arrests were made in full view of the press, who had gathered to cover the event.

According to a report from the scene by Reuters, marchers carried rainbow banners and protest signs, one of which read, "Today they ban gays, tomorrow they will ban you."

"The police reaction was completely disproportionate to the threat which they thought the protesters posed," Russian activist Nikolai Alekseev told Reuters. "There were 20 people there, behaving peacefully, there were no scuffles and there was no basis for such a rough operation by the authorities."

Live blogs from the scene posted at UK Gay News report that as many as 12 marchers were arrested and were expected to be held until Monday morning when they would appear before a judge for arraignment. There are also reports that police are patrolling the neighborhood where Pride parties are being held at gay clubs. There have been no reports of further raids or violence

The following video was recorded live at the scene.

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