Gay activists were beaten up by an angry crowd during an authorized protest on Sunday (20 January).
In the city of Voronezh in southwest Russia, gay rights activists held a protest against a nationwide homophobia bill that will be discussed in parliament soon.
Several hundred people opposing gay rights gathered near a monument to poet Ivan Nikitin to seal off all approaches to it to prevent the picket from taking place.
When about ten gay activists appeared, the crowd pelted them with snowballs and then beat them up.
According to the Associated Press, at least one of the picketers had to seek medical assistance.
The legislation currently being pushed by the Kremlin and the Russian Orthodox Church would make it illegal nationwide to provide minors with information defined as ‘homosexual propaganda.’
It would include a ban on holding public events that promote gay rights, a bill St Petersburg already banning Gay Pride for 100 years.
Other laws the Kremlin say are intended to protect young Russians include banning and blocking web content and print publications that are deemed ‘extremist’ or unfit for young audiences.
While homosexuality was decriminalized in 1993, attitudes to gays and lesbians in Russia remain hostile.
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