Detained In Russian Airport After Rainbow Flag Protest
A man who participated in a campaign to display the rainbow flag across Russia was detained for 16 hours.
Colombian Matero Fernandez is currently all over the internet as one of the six people who secretly took pictures of rainbow colors across the anti-gay country.
Fernandez and the five other activists appeared in Moscow in late June seemingly for the World Cup. Each one of them wore football shirts from their native countries, but when standing together they displayed the colors of the rainbow flag. They then took pictures all over Russia before uploading them online.
Unfortunately, Russia bans “gay propaganda,” so many of the activists were in danger for this campaign. Even worse, Fernandez ended up getting detained when he tried to take a flight home.
At the start of July, Mateo Fernandez arrived four hours early at the airport for his flight home. He arrived early suspecting that customs would be “crazy” because of the sports championship.
Unfortunately, airport security took him back without giving him a reason why. He’s still unsure if its because he’s Colombian or because they found out he was involved in the campaign.
‘They never told me why I was detained,” Fernandez told GayStarNews in an exclusive interview, “They demanded to know why I was here. Over and over they asked. It was nerve-wracking”
Even after he told them he was only there for the World Cup, they didn’t trust him.
“They either weren’t understanding,”Mateo said, “or they weren’t happy with the answer.”
Around the fifth hour, the 29-year-old was given his phone back. Then around 5 am the next day (July 2), he was released. Having missed two flights, Fernandez immediately took a flight to Amersterdam where he had a work commitment.
Despite the trauma and crying three times while being detained, Mateo Fernandez says it was all worth it.
“Russian people have said to us they are very thankful we did this,” he said. “Even if the pictures hadn’t got the press and attention it has, we have to do what we can to show people care.”
“This kind of repression is not only in Russia. It was completely worth it.”