Sixteen people were this week hospitalised after the St. Petersburg LGBTQ festival QueerFest was attacked by a gang of anti-gay protesters.
The gang of around 20 people attacked the festival on its first day, spraying attendants with green paint and releasing gas which left many in need of medical assistance after breathing it in.
Among the attackers was politician Vitaly Milonov, the co-author of Russia’s infamous ‘gay propaganda’ ban.
After the attack organisers of the event were forced to move to another venue in an attempt to continue the festival.
QueerFest, now in its 6th year, had previously faced large amounts of opposition in an ongoing struggle to hold the event. Organisers reported that many venues cancelled on them last-minute and that Russian anti-gay laws meant to festival had to be restricted to an 18+ event.
But despite opposition faced from Russia’s homophobic population organisers of QueerFest have said they will continue to hold the event, and to celebrate Russia’s LGBTQ community.
When asked to give her views on Milonov and other anti-gay protesters one organiser told reporters ‘He’s really on the wrong side of history and he’s working so hard to make a group of people who have done nothing wrong – great people – feel miserable, feel like second-class citizens, and that’s where he’s putting his energy. I feel sorry for him. I feel like one day he will be sorry that this is how he spent his better years. ‘