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PRIDE 2013

RUSSIA

Topless activists target Russian embassy

The Swedish police has detained two topless activists from the feminist network Femen for trying to break and enter the Russian embassy in Stockholm on Thursday morning to protest the country's record on LGBT rights.

Topless activists target Russian embassy

As the police carted away the writhing activists, about 200 people assembled for a planned demonstration across the road from the embassy in Stockholm’s verdant diplomatic quarters. Police were calm and in control, participants said, only stepping in when demonstrators obstructed traffic.

IN PICTURES: Topless Femen activists carted away by Swedish police outside Russian embassy in Stockholm

“There is a lot of anger here but people are channeling it in a good way. There’s a lot of rainbow flags, people are happy and smiling because they are making their determination felt,” Sören Juvas, Social Democrat ombudsman and former head of LGBT rights organization RFSL, told the Local on the phone from the scene.

Juvas welcomed that Foreign Minister Carl Bildt had made Sweden’s concern about Russian legislation on the lesbian, gay, transsexuals and queer community known, saying that European Affairs Minister Birgitta Ohlsson had long been left to criticize unequal treatment by herself.

“It seems more like Birgitta Ohlsson’s own personal conviction, but it doesn’t appear like she gets a lot of support from the rest of the government,” Juvas said. “The government’s attempts to act on this are a bit puny.”

He said the Migration Minister Tobias Billström being bisexual and top ministers having family members in same-sex marriages seemed to mean little to the government as a whole.

“It shows that sexual orientation isn’t a determinant factor in whether you stand up for people’s equal value or not,” Juvas said. “This Russian law turns homo-, bi- and transsexuals into fifth-class citizens, Russia has differentiated the value of human beings.”

Yet as Sweden has recourse to putting pressure on Russia through the Council of Europe, there appears to be mostly support for LGBT rights among western European nations. Last year at the Saint Petersburg Pride Festival, the Swedish, British and French consuls were all in attendance.

“There is a new Berlin Wall in Europe,” Juvas said. “It splits the European countries and it’s not just a question of LGBT rights, but also how you treat minorities such as the Roma.”

RELATED STORY: Lithuanian gay haters pelt eggs at Swedish minister at LGBT fest

“The EU placed demands on candidate countries before they joined, but they need to keep up the pressure when we can see that countries start categorizing people and giving different groups of people different legal statuses.”

Ann Törnkvist

Follow Ann on Twitter here

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STOCKHOLM

Stockholm Pride is a little different this year: here’s what you need to know 

This week marks the beginning of Pride festivities in the Swedish capital. The tickets sold out immediately, for the partly in-person, partly digital events. 

Pride parade 2019
There won't be a Pride parade like the one in 2019 on the streets of Stockholm this year. Photo: Stina Stjernkvist/TT

You might have noticed rainbow flags popping up on major buildings in Stockholm, and on buses and trams. Sweden has more Pride festivals per capita than any other country and is the largest Pride celebration in the Nordic region, but the Stockholm event is by far the biggest.  

The Pride Parade, which usually attracts around 50,000 participants in a normal year, will be broadcast digitally from Södra Teatern on August 7th on Stockholm Pride’s website and social media. The two-hour broadcast will be led by tenor and debater Rickard Söderberg.

The two major venues of the festival are Pride House, located this year at the Clarion Hotel Stockholm at Skanstull in Södermalm, and Pride Stage, which is at Södra Teatern near Slussen.

“We are super happy with the layout and think it feels good for us as an organisation to slowly return to normal. There are so many who have longed for it,” chairperson of Stockholm Pride, Vix Herjeryd, told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper.

Tickets are required for all indoor events at Södra Teatern to limit the number of people indoors according to pandemic restrictions. But the entire stage programme will also be streamed on a big screen open air on Mosebacketerassen, which doesn’t require a ticket.  

You can read more about this year’s Pride programme on the Stockholm Pride website (in Swedish). 

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