Signs ripped apart during gay march in Minsk

Brunei News.Net

In the city of Minsk, Belarussian police have broken up a gay and lesbian pride gathering, which had been attended by only 20 people.

Participants were defying an official ban, and had gathered on a side street to walk with bright rainbow flags and signs that read: "Today they ban gays, tomorrow they will ban you."

The gathering had been the first of its kind in the capital and had been organised by the Russian and Belarussian Slavic Pride rights group.

It was only after the participants had started to march down a street that police wearing armed with batons moved.

Police tore away the flags and arrested the gay protesters.

Homosexuality was decriminalised in the early 1990s in Belarussia, but has been barely tolerated with few gay bars and other meeting places.

Because there has been no show of official tolerance, Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko has been under pressure from Western rights groups to enact political reforms and encourage broader civil rights in his country.

Rights group Amnesty International had asked authorities to allow the march to proceed peacefully.


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