Russia: Dozens of anti-gay nationalists swarm gathering of three gay rights activists

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Two young women and a man campaigning for gay rights in Russia were met with about 100 nationalist protesters on Sunday, who threw tomatoes and shouted anti-gay abuse.

According to The Moscow Times, the three campaigners were gathered in the southern city of Lipetsk to take part in a demonstration of LGBT rights.

Reida Linn, one of the participants, said she and her friends wanted to encourage “fighting homophobia, discrimination, violations of the Constitution and of the rights of LGBT people.”

However, about 100 nationalists and conservative activists were reported to have stormed the scene, as well as police officers deployed to prevent violence.

A middle-aged man threw a green tomato at the campaigners and shouted: “You have no place on Russian soil,” before he was detained by police.

Police eventually detained the three demonstrators by placing them in a van.

Opponents continued their verbal abuse and a group of young men tried to overturn the vehicle, prompting additional police to attend the scene.

Four more people were reportedly detained before the crowd dispersed.

President Vladimir Putin signed a law last year 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.

Eight gay rights activists were detained for ‘disobedience’ earlier this month after handing out pro-LGBT flyers for National Coming Out Day.