A gay man visiting Russia for the World Cup has been severely bashed, and a prominent gay rights campaigner has been detained by Moscow Police for protesting, bringing to life fears that LGBTI people visiting the country would not be safe.
Football fans were warned that death threats had been made towards LGBTI people in the leadup to the World Cup.
He and his partner were attacked and robbed in St Petersburg, Gay Star News has reported.
Davrius was taken to hospital after being bashed, where doctors discovered he had sustained a brain contusion and open craniocerebral injury, and an upper jaw fracture.
Two men, Ismet Gaidarov and Rasul Magomedev, have been arrested in connection with the attack.
Long-time Australian–British LGBTI rights activist Peter Tatchell was arrested yesterday during a one-person protest near the Kremlin.
He was protesting Russia’s complacency in the alleged gay concentration camps in Chechnya, holding a sign that read ‘Putin fails to go against Chechnya torture of gay people’.
Before his protest, he told media that he was privileged by his nationality, and respected the bravery of Russian protesters.
“I will be exercising my lawful right to protest, under the Russian constitution,” Tatchell said.
“Unlike brave Russian protesters, I have the ‘protection’ of a British passport.”
Protest is legal in Russia, but only one-person protests can go ahead without police permission.
Tatchell was detained by Moscow Police and taken to Tverskaya Police Station, before being released later that day.
He said in a statement that he had been well treated, and attributed this in part to his citizenship.
“I guess the Russians also did not want to be seen as being heavy-handed during the World Cup,” he said.
Amid the fears of violence against LGBTI people in Russia, the Football Supporters’ Federation advised fans ahead of the World Cup to avoid public displays of affection with same-sex partners.
Homosexuality is not illegal in Russia, but LGBTI people are widely oppressed.
FIFA has been criticised for choosing the country as World Cup host.