A crowd has attacked a group of activists protesting a planned law that would ban any public expression of homosexuality across the whole of Russia.

On Sunday, around ten LGBT rights supporters were pelted with snowballs and bottles by a large group of homophobic protestors in Nikitskaya Square in the city of Voronezh in southwest Russia.

According to reports, at least one man was beaten and required medical attention.

The activists were staging a legal protest against the proposed “gay propaganda” law which critics say will violate Russians’ freedom of expression and discriminate against the LGBT community.

Fascist groups used social media to mobilise against the protest and staged their own much larger counter-protest which led to the violence.

Protests last year against the bill were also met with violence. In Moscow, on 19 December, around 20 activists held up signs against the proposed law and held kiss-ins near parliament.

Anti-gay orthodox Christian protestors reacted by throwing eggs and attacking the gay and lesbian couples.

The State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, had been set to hold hearings at the end of the month on the bill, which would effectively bar any LGBT events or any shows of support for LGBT people or rights that might be seen by minors.

On Tuesday, however, the RT network reported that the bill was returned back to the drafting process after it decided that more discussion should be held on the legislation.

While homosexuality is legal in Russian, anti-gay sentiment has been on the increase in recent years. The city of Moscow has repeatedly ignored a 2010 European Court of Human Rights ruling and has continued to bar gay Pride events from taking place since 2006.

Laws barring so called “gay propaganda” have already been passed in the city of St. Petersburg and in the southern Astrakhan and central Ryazan and Kostroma regions.

A poll last year found that that 86 percent of Russians support a ban on gay propaganda.

Watch a video of Sunday’s attack on LGBT protestors below.

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