LGBT activists arrested during Russian national holiday

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Police have detained several gay activists and destroyed their posters on during a LGBT rights protest.

Police in St. Petersburg have detained several gay activists, who have held pickets in defence of gay rights during a national holiday in Russia, Haaretz reports.

Police arrested Yuri Gavrikov – the leader of a gay rights group – as he left his home to hold a one-man picket in front of the city’s Hermitage Museum.

Several other gay activists were attacked by veterans celebrating Russian Airborne Forces, tearing up their posters and shouting homophobic abuse.

Police quickly escorted the gay activists away before detaining them at local police stations.

It is believed the activists have since been released.

Russia has been widely criticised for its infringement on gay rights, since Vladmir Putin passed a law that prohibits “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” to minors in 2013.

Other casualties of the law include the founder of an online LGBT forum for Russian teens, who was recently prosecuted by the government for aiding the increasingly oppressed gay community from both the government and ‘vigilante’ groups, who often operate with impunity.

Yelena Klimova was fined by a court for 50,000 roubles on the charge that her website Deti-404 spread “unhealthy” LGBT propaganda to minors.

It was also recently announced that the government’s next target may be gay emojis.

Roskomnadzor – the government group responsible for policing the Russian media – wrote a letter to pro-Kremlin youth group Young Guard of United Russia, requesting the group’s members investigate emojis and their use on social medias.

They claim that gay emojis might violate the countrywide ban on the ““promotion of non-traditional sexual relations”,” according to Roskomnadzor.