Moscow security forces carried out raids on gay nightclubs, bars and saunas in the city center on Friday night, according to media reports, a day after Russia’s Supreme Court effectively banned the international LGBTQ+ movement in Russia, labeling it an “extremist” organization.
Police searched venues across the Russian capital, including a nightclub, a male sauna, and a bar that hosted LGBTQ+ parties, under the pretext of a drug raid, local media reported. Eyewitnesses said clubgoers’ documents were checked and photographed by the security services.
Ostorozhno Novosti Telegram news channel reported that, on the pretext of searching for drugs, police raided a club on Malaya Yakimanka where a party for the LGBT community was taking place.
“In the middle of the party, they stopped the music and [the police] started to pass into the halls,” according to the report. ”At the exit, they took passport photos without authorization to do so,” Ostorozhno Novosti wrote, citing an eyewitness.
On Friday, the European Union issued a statement in which it strongly condemned the decision of the Russian Supreme Court to outlaw the international LGBT public movement.
“Amid the decades-long crackdown on rights of LGBTIQ persons unleashed under President Putin, this decision aims at further persecuting the LGBTIQ community in Russia and aims to stifle civil society and those courageously defending human rights,” according to the statement.