Freelance journalist covering LGBT march and NOD demonstration yesterday in St Petersburg attacked and arrested
ST PETERSBURG – A Russian journalist was arrested yesterday (December 11) at a peaceful LGBT march along Nevsky Prospekt in St Petersburg. 25-year-old David Frenkel, who works as a freelance photojournalist for Russia’s daily business newspaper Kommersant, was covering the march by ten LGBT activists when he was attacked.
At the end of the LGBT march, Frenkel shot pictures of another public gathering by members of the organisation NOD, or People’s Liberation Movement, that took place on the same day. When Frenkel approached the group, one of their protestors attacked him physically and verbally with ethnic slurs.
According to Frenkel and his colleagues, police officers were passing by but did nothing to intervene. Frenkel then called 112 to file a police complaint. “They were not willing to take any action, but I insisted. Finally, they let me file a statement on this guy,” said Frenkel.
Shortly after the report was filed, Frenkel said the police arrested him when they received another complaint from another NOD member accusing Frenkel of intervening in their demonstration. “First they accepted my statement, let me free and only a few minutes later caught up to me on the street. They asked me to get into police car to go to the police station because of the NOD complaint,” Frankel told Prospekt Magazine.
The police arrested Frenkel and took him to the 78 Police Department on Chekhova Lane. There, Frenkel said that the police began pressing him for details about the LGBT march: “They were mostly asking me questions about the LGBT guys, how I knew them, who they were, et cetera. I refused to answer and police officer got angry and tried to humiliate me. This is when the police deputy chief came in.”
Frenkel said that the deputy was aggressive––humiliating him, questioning his rights as a journalist and challenging his sanity. The police eventually called a medic “to check if he was mad or crazy.”
When doctors arrived, Frenkel said they tied him down to the stretcher and choked him. Soon after, Frenkel’s family, girlfriend and colleagues arrived. His father spoke with the doctor and persuaded him to be released. He was sent home that night.
For a detailed report by Russian newspaper “Kommersant” read here.
Below are photos of the LGBT march