Gay rights activists allowed to march in Russian May Day parade

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Despite a federal anti-gay law, LGBT rights activists and allies were allowed at the weekend to march in a May Day parade in Russia.

The parade took place in St Petersburg on 1 May, and featured a rainbow column to celebrate the International Workers’ Day.

According to reports, over 90,000 people attended, around 600 of them from the LGBT column.

The activists carried placards with slogans such as “No to discrimination”, and “dump homophobia”.

Unsurprisingly, those opposed to LGBT rights attempted to interfere with the parade, including Vitaly Milonov, the Uniter Russia party member, and MP who was behind the St Petersburg law which was eventually adopted federally.

He reportedly asked for permission to “tear the head off” a gay participant, and shouted: “Arrest them! Go away! Pedophiles! Prostitutes! Faggots! I am Russian! We will liquidate you! They should be squashed with tanks and tractors!”

Trying a different tactic, Milonov also unsuccessfully attempted to have police remove the LGBT rights activists from the parade, claiming their banners were in breach of the anti-gay law which bans the “promotion of non-traditional sexual relationships” to minors.

Vmeste (Together) Coalition for Civil Equality organised the parade.

Gay people have faced increasing issues in Russia since President Vladimir Putin in 2013 signed a federal law banning the “promotion of non-tradtional sexual relations”.