Russian pro-, anti-gay activists clash, police detain dozens

ST PETERSBURG, Russia Sat Jun 29, 2013 10:38am EDT

1 of 6. An anti-gay protester (R) clashes with a gay rights activist during a Gay Pride event in St. Petersburg, June 29, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Alexander Demianchuk

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ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) - Police detained dozens of people when pro- and anti-gay activists clashed in the Russian city of St Petersburg on Saturday, just two weeks after parliament passed a law banning homosexual "propaganda".

Critics say the bill - a nationwide version of laws in place in cities including St Petersburg, President Vladimir Putin's hometown, - effectively bans gay rights rallies and could be used to prosecute anyone voicing support for homosexuals.

Up to 100 people took part in the march to protest against the law, confronted by an equal number of anti-gay activists, who threw eggs, smoke flares and stones at them.

Police intervened with batons to stop the violence and detained dozens of people.

"We staged the rally to support our rights and express our protest against the homophobic law," Natalya Tsymbalova, a gay activist said by telephone from a police station, adding that the rally did not infringe Russian law.

The march was organized by the group "Ravnopraviye" (Equal Rights).

The incident highlights increasing intolerance in Russian society towards gay people and a toughening of laws aimed at stifling any dissent against the rule of Putin in general.

The bill passed by the lower house on June 11 bans the spreading of "propaganda for non-traditional sexual relations" to minors and sets heavy fines for violations. It has yet to be signed into law by Putin.

There are no official figures on anti-gay crime in Russia, but in an online poll last year, 15 percent of about 900 gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender respondents said they had been physically attacked at least once in the previous 10 months.

Putin, who has embraced the Russian Orthodox Church as a moral authority and harnessed its influence as a source of political support, has championed socially conservative values since starting a new, six-year term in May 2012.

(Reporting by Alexander Demianchuk and Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Alison Williams)

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Comments (15)
We need anti-sodomite laws here as well.
Homosexuality should be criminalized. Homosexuals commit crimes against God, against nature, against the Holy Bible and against the human race.
After reading this I now know why God wrote:
Leviticus 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
Romans 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

Jun 29, 2013 12:46pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
IntellectOne wrote:
Good for Putin. He does not like propaganda, especially when it will directly affect children, as it does in the United States. What a Blessing that Putin has embraced the Russian Orthodox Church as a guide for the Russian people.

Jun 29, 2013 3:55pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Wavedoctor wrote:
Russia gets the concept of NO PERVERSION allowed. Too bad Americans are so stupid they let the gay militant minority talk them into accepting deviant behavior as normal.

Jun 29, 2013 4:10pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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