During a rally in St. Petersburg to promote LGBT rights, about 25 people were forced into police vans and detained.
Although the gathering on the square had been banned, about 60 activists showed up, each claiming to protest alone to avoid the “rally” classification, the BBC reported. Those holding up protest signs were apprehended by police, who also targeted those with “the most colorful flags and clothes,” demonstration co-organizer Aleksei Nazarov said.
"This topic is silenced in the mass media. These [gay] people exist, the authorities should work with them somehow and we should search for dialogue," protester Mikhail said.
LGBT rights in Russia are lacking compared to those in other countries — it was ranked as Europe’s second least LGBT-friendly nation in 2016 by advocacy group ILGA-Europe. A 2013 law banning “gay propaganda” that has been used to stop pride parades and detain activists may also be responsible for the doubling of Russia’s LGBT hate crimes in the past five years, Reuters reported.