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23 Jun, 2021 14:12

Russian prosecutors strike down case of anime-loving teenagers arrested over LGBT+ Pride flag, demanding officers are punished

Russian prosecutors strike down case of anime-loving teenagers arrested over LGBT+ Pride flag, demanding officers are punished

Police officers in the Russian city of St. Petersburg, who detained around 20 minors at a cosplay party over an LGBT+ pride flag, are now facing calls for disciplinary action after prosecutors ruled their conduct was unlawful.

The group had reportedly been attending a gathering held on an open veranda at an event space in the country's second city in March. Attendees aged between 12 and 17 had bought and made their own costumes, inspired by their favorite characters from anime and other cartoons.

At one point, however, one partygoer was said to have produced a rainbow flag, most often used as an LGBT+ symbol, and a number of those present began to take pictures with it. The organizers, reportedly believing it to be a hazardous situation, locked the children on the balcony and telephoned the police. However, according to local media, an armed response unit arrived at the premises and detained all the teens present on suspicion of breaching rules around the promotion of non-traditional sexual relationships to minors.

The Moscow Helsinki Group, which supported the minors involved, claimed they were held without legal representation and kept in cold cells.

Also on rt.com Russian court throws out case over Dolce & Gabbana adverts featuring women kissing, after MP withdraws ‘gay propaganda’ law appeal

On Tuesday, the Prosecutor's Office of the Central District of St. Petersburg supported the complaint, ruling that the detentions were unlawful and the teenagers had not been promoting non-traditional relationships. Now, officials are demanding that the officers responsible for the detentions are brought to justice.

Earlier this month, a court in the Baltic Sea city threw out a case brought against Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana for reportedly falling foul of the laws around promoting LGBT+ lifestyles to minors. The row concerned two adverts published on the luxury retailer's Instagram page, which depicted women kissing intimately. The clips were aimed at supporting a charity that provides suicide prevention and crisis support for young LGBT+ people. Officials later confirmed that prosecutors had not filed the requisite paperwork within the timeframe allocated, after a lawmaker withdrew his earlier complaint against the materials.

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