Russia: Police detain gay rights activists after scuffle with fascists at Coming Out Day rally

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Police have arrested 45 people following a pro-LGBT gathering in the Russian city of St Petersburg earlier on Saturday after gay rights activists clashed with homophobic campaigners, local radio has reported.

The rally took place in the Field of Mars (Marsovo Pole) at 2pm local time, but anti-gay rights activists protests at the scene. Protesters included Cossacks, Orthodox Church and members of neo-fascist organisations.

Police intervened in a fight that ensued after gay rights campaigners attempted to raise rainbow flags. 15 LGBT activists and 30 anti-gay campaigners were arrested according to Ekho Moskvy radio. Among those arrested was Kirill Kalugin who was attacked by a gang of paratroopers earlier this year.

President Vladimir Putin signed the law in June banning the promotion of “non-traditional relationships” toward minors, a move that has been criticised as part of a broader crackdown on Russia’s gay community. Other laws banning the adoption of Russian children by foreign same-sex couples, and one which enables organisations receiving funding from abroad to be fined as “foreign agents”, were also passed.