These few gay rights activists held a Pride rally in Russia despite threats of violence

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Gay rights activists across Russia have held Pride rallies on the national Paratroopers Day, despite direct threats of violence.

Videos and accounts online showed small groups of gay rights activists holding up banners, and standing peacefully.

However, many of the ex-paratroopers were clear about their intentions to disrupt the rallies, and one even told reporters: “We will beat up these gays”, flexing his muscles.

Alexei Nazarov, who demonstrated in St Petersburg told Reuters: “I am a human being and I want to be respected. I have my own pride and that’s why I am standing here now.”

Three of the gay rights activists were apparently detained in St Petersburg following the rally, which was not given clearance by authorities.

The day, which is celebrated annually in Russia, is well known for its drunken crowds, and former paratroopers wearing blue berets, and white and blue striped t-shirts.

Hand-to-hand violence is often provoked, and authorities rarely intervene.

A lone gay rights activist, Krill Kalugin, in 2013 was assaulted by a violent group of Russian paratroopers in the city that was the birth place of the country’s anti-gay legislation.

Mr Kalugin was holding a rainbow banner in St Petersburg that read “This is propagating tolerance” when he was attacked.