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Russia: Gay activists overwhelmed by the force of hatred

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Published on Jun 29, 2013

Dozens of Russians attempted to rally on Saturday in St. Petersburg to show their support to the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender community (LGBT). The protest was held after a bill banning homosexual propaganda was approved June 11 by the Russian Lower House and June 26 by the Upper House of the Parliament. The Law has yet to be signed by the Russian President Vladimir Putin. The gathering was sanctioned but ended up with the detention of demonstrators and violent scuffles between police and about 200 anti-gay campaigners who also attended the event. The anti-gay campaigners were throwing eggs at the gay community and its supporters, urging police to ban the rally.

The non-traditional sex relations bill includes the media, internet and viral adverts and is aimed to protect minors from information that "can harmfully impact their minds and instil distorted conceptions of the relationships between people", as one of the bill's authors, Sergei Zheleznyak, explained.

Individuals who break the ban will face fines from 4,000 up to 5000 roubles ($125 - $155, €90 - €115) and legal entities from 800,000 to 1 million roubles ($24,000 - $30,500, €18,700 - €23,400). Foreign citizens who do not respect the ban will also face a fine or even arrest up to 15 days. Russia's LGBT community expressed their concern about growing homophobia and conservative religious values among society, with 88% of Russian population is in favour of the ban, according to a poll by the Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (VCIOM).

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