Several prominent gay rights activists were arrested Friday after attempting to deliver a petition against Moscow Pride violence to representatives at the Parisian Russian Embassy.
Activists Louis-Georges Tin, Nikolai Alekseev, Chad Meacham and Audrey Grelombe were among those taken into custody on the grounds that they were participating in an unauthorized protest outside the embassy building. According to the UK Gay News, a fifth activist and member of the group Act Up-Paris, was also arrested at the scene.
Reports surrounding the event indicate that the activists’ attempt to deliver the 14,000 signature petition was peaceful; and after their initial release, everyone except for Alekseev was promptly released. However, Alekseev told Tin that, upon requesting the presence of his lawyer, he was told to “go back to his own country” and roughly handled by a police officer before being incarcerated in a jail cell.
Alekseev, who is a well-known Russian gay rights activist and Moscow Pride organizer, was eventually released after 10 ½ hours of extended detention.
In response to Alekseev’s arrest and treatment at the hands of the Paris police, London-based activist Peter Tatchell applauded the campaigner’s efforts and demanded that “questions need to be asked in the French parliament about who authorized these heavy-handed and unjustified arrests” – especially since, as Tatchell noted, the petitioners were not even staging a demonstration.