Last Monday, a gay couple was arrested and detained for hours after visiting a memorial site for the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.
Islam Abdullabeckov and his boyfriend Felix Glyukman, visited the site with flowers and a poster that said “Love Wins.” After setting their gifts down, along with dozens of others honoring the victims, the couple was swiftly apprehended by Russian police for “unauthorized action.”
The arrest was captured on video and shows the couple resisting before allowing themselves to be forced into the back of a police car (pictured below). Once detained, the men were questioned for three hours before being released with no further details provided about a more permanent sentence.
“We know about the terrorist attack in the United States and we were in shock,” Glyukma told Australia’s SBS News in a video interview. “We decided to go to the embassy with flowers, candles and posters…when we put them down the policeman, he grabbed the poster and said, told us to leave. Islam said we didn’t want [to], then [the officer] grabbed Islam and went to the car.”
“Yes, we are in shock now…this is very strange and this is very sad, I think.”
“We only wanted to express our condolences for the murder of these people and we had not at all planned any kind of political act,” Abdullabeckov told France 24.
As several news sources have pointed out, this distinction is an important one. In 2012, the city of Moscow banned all public LGBT demonstrations for the next 100 years.
As of this writing, it’s unclear whether or not public mourning for the horrific attack at Pulse will be considered a “political demonstration” or not. Ironically enough, the mourners gathered at the embassy were not the only ones to extend their condolences to the victims—last week the nation’s famously anti-LGBT president Vladimir Putin himself sent the White House a telegram calling the shooting “barbaric.”
h/t: Gay Star News