The first West Hollywood street rally in protest of anti-gay laws in Russia since the controversial dumping of fake Stoli in the gutters last August was small but equally dramatic.
Tonight’s event began simply enough, with about 30 people gathered at the LA Jock store at 7992 Santa Monica Blvd. near Laurel to hear Nir Zilberman, the store’s owner and the organizer of the rally, speak. Zilberman, an Israeli Jew who has said he lost grandparents to the Nazi Holocaust, teared up as he spoke. Zilberman has likened the persecution of gay people in Russia to the Nazi persecution of Jews.
Others present included gay event promoter Jeffrey Sanker, who thanked the crowd for coming; Steve Martin, the former West Hollywood city council member; Lucas John Junkin, the party promoter and publisher of WeHo Confidential, who is a candidate in the 2015 West Hollywood City Council race; and entertainer Kitten Kay Sera (the “Pink Lady of Hollywood”), and Robert Gamboa, co-chair of the city’s Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board. Kris Searle performed for the group.
Zilberman then led the group on a short march down the sidewalk, with a Fox 11 television camera in tow and Sheriff’s Department deputies escorting, until he seemed to faint. Zilberman fell to his knees, and deputies and marchers helped him onto his back while a deputy radioed for paramedics. Shortly after the paramedics arrived, Zilberman was on his feet, saying he had been overcome by emotion.
There will be other events, all timed around the beginning tomorrow of the XXVIII Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, through Monday.