Members of conservative pro-Kremlin youth organization Set entered Russia’s sole “women-only hours” cafe in St. Petersburg, resulting in a scuffle on Thursday.
March 8 marks International Women’s Day. In Russia, it is celebrated as a public holiday with flowers traditionally being gifted to women.
In the footage posted online by Set, several men are seen entering the cafe and attempting to give flower bouquets to female guests. After they refused to leave, one of the women at the cafe pepper-sprayed a Set activist.
The feminist coffee shop Simona opened its doors last month, with special “women-only hours” during the day. Shortly after its opening, a complaint was sent to the St. Petersburg Prosecutor’s Office accusing the cafe of discrimination.
Founded in November 2013, the youth group Set — which means “Network” in Russian — has in the past organized patriotic fashion shows and film festivals. Set members told life.ru that they had come to the cafe “with good intentions” and were not planning to provoke anyone.