Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Russia police arrest gay activists

Gay rights activists carry rainbow flags as they march in St Petersburg (AP/file)

Russian police have arrested four gay rights activists protesting in St Petersburg on the opening day of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

During the protest, four gay activists unfurled a banner quoting the Olympic Charter's ban on any form of discrimination.

The protesters, who gathered on St Petersburg's Vasilyevsky Island, were quickly rounded up by police, according to Natalia Tsymbalova, a local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activist.

Police refused any immediate comment.

A Russian law banning gay "propaganda" from reaching minors has drawn strong international criticism and calls for boycott of the Sochi Games from gay activists and others.

Russian law also bans any unsanctioned protests and violators may face fines or prison sentences.

AP

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