Russian gay rally ends in fights and arrests

Police arrest scores after pro-gay activists clash with opponents in St Petersburg.

    The clashes began after a protester had her rainbow flag ripped from her hands [Reuters]
    The clashes began after a protester had her rainbow flag ripped from her hands [Reuters]

    Sixty-seven people were arrested after fightes broke out between gay rights activists and opponents at a rally in the Russian city of St Petersburg, according to local news sources.

    Several dozen activists for  lesbian, gay, bisexual and transexual rights had gathered in the centre of the city for a sanctioned LGBT rally, which was held on what activists termed as "international coming out day". 

    They were far outnumbered by the anti-gay demonstrators, including several dressed as Cossacks and Orthodox priests, who had occupied the site of the planned demo.

    Fights broke out after anti-gay protesters tore a rainbow flag from a woman's hands, and police then moved in to arrest those involved. They eventually detained 67 people from both sides, Russian news agencies reported. 

    Gay rights campaigners in Russia have held several small protests since the adoption of a law in June banning homosexual "propaganda" directed at minors. Critics say the law curtails homosexuals' rights to free speech and assembly.  The issue has attracted growing international attention ahead of Russia's hosting of the Winter Olympics in Sochi next

    year. Gay rights activists have called for participants and sponsors to boycott the games in protest at the law.


    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.

    Pakistan's tribal areas: 'Neither faith nor union found'

    Pakistan's tribal areas: 'Neither faith nor union found'

    Residents of long-neglected northwestern tribal belt say incorporation into Pakistan has left them in a vacuum.