Hundreds of people gathered in several international rallies today (7 April) to protest anti-gay purges in Chechnya.
A year ago, news first broke of the arrests of gay men in the semi-autonomous Russian region of Chechnya.
Reports emerged of men being held in secret camps in the predominantly Islamic region. They were being tortured and detained without trial.
A year on and after severe global backlash, activist groups claim the practice is still happening.
So All Out and Amnesty International called on people all over the world to protest outside Russian embassies.
Gay Star News attended the protest in London:
In an impassioned speech, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell addressed the crowd of about 50 people. He said: ‘International solidarity is so important.
‘It is such a morale boost for people in Russia and Chechnya to know that we care about their plight.’
He continued: ‘What has happened to LGBT Chechens is only one fragment of the tyranny affecting Chechnya today.
‘We stand with solidarity with all Chechen people who are striving for equality and human rights,’ he said.
‘It’s important for us to make a stand’
Gay Star News also spoke with activist Alix Paul from Amnesty International: ‘I think that the most dangerous thing is to stay silent about it because they don’t seem to acknowledge that there are any gay people in Chechnya.
‘The bigger issue is the fact they continuously persecute gay people. It’s important for us to make a stand for human rights.
‘There is no logical reason why anyone should be persecuted for being who they are or who they love,’ he also said.
International protests were also held in Brasilia, Mexico City, Munich, Berlin, Rome, Stockholm and York.
Matt Beard, Executive Director of All Out said: ‘There was a massive international outcry after the abuses came to light.
‘All Out and its partners delivered a petition with 2 million names, we successfully lobbied Angela Merkel to raise the issue when she met Putin and the international media brought the story to millions.
‘Without this international pressure and visibility, we believe the terror may have continued unabated,’ he also said.