Pic: Dave Frenkel (@merr1k)
Russian police have blocked a protest in St Petersburg against the deadly persecution of gay men in Chechnya.
The demonstration was held on Monday in the centre of the country’s second largest city.
Around 10 activists lay down on the ground, smeared in fake blood and covered by rainbow flags and the flag of Chechnya.
They called for justice for the victims of the state sanctioned abuse and for Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov to be tried at the International Court of Justice.
Pictures on Twitter showed police arresting the protesters and bundling them into vans. It appears that one demonstrator fainted in the melee and was taken away by ambulance.
Under Russian’s “gay propaganda” law, public demonstrations in support of LGBT equality are illegal.
Kadyrov has been accused of personally supporting a campaign to eradicate LGBT people from Chechnya, a semi-antonymous Russian republic.
According to reports, verified by numerous sources and victims, the Chechen authorities rounded up around 100 gay men, who were then detained in secret facilities, tortured and in some cases killed.
There have also been claims that the families of some victims were urged by the authorities to murder their LGBT relatives in so called “honour killings”.
Russian President Vladimir Putin in particular has been slammed for his silence in the matter.
Chechnya has denied reports of the persecution by claiming that there are no LGBT people in the republic in the first place.