RUSSIAN LGBTI activists have been rounded up by police while protesting the anti-gay crackdown in Chechnya during a May Day protest inSt Petersburg.

A group of roughly ten protesters were arrested while demonstrating in the city’s centre alongside a parade advocating for workers’ rights.

Photos showing the activists smeared with fake blood and lying in the street pretending to be dead spread across Twitter following the protest.

The group were also draped in both rainbow and Chechen flags.

During the protest, a second group of LGBTI activists were detained for carrying placards that called for Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov to be tried at The Hague.

Police were wearing riot gear and were seen dragging people into the back of police vans.

One member of the group appeared to faint during the forcible arrest and had to be taken away in an ambulance.

The protests follow a report by Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta that more than 100 gay men had been kidnapped and tortured by Chechen authorities. 4 of the men are believed to have been killed.

The Chechan government later denied the very presence of gay men in Chechnya.

Kadyrov even appeared on Russian television to attack Russian journalists for reporting on the brutality, making deeply homophobic statements in the process.

“The best way to lead a healthy lifestyle is to have the right orientation,” he said.

“God created us men, women and animals. Have you seen any religious pronouncement that would say you should marry a cat, for example?”

A spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin has backed Kadyrov’s denial of the brutality inflicted upon gay men in Chechnya.

Each government’s denial comes in spite of numerous international reports and interviews with victims being corroborated by the Human Rights Watch.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs has raised concerns with the Kremlin over the anti-gay crackdown.


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