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Hundreds In London Protest Persecution Of Gays In Chechnya


Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said there were no homosexuals in Chechnya to persecute.

Hundreds of people have descended on the Russian Embassy in London to protest against the reported torture and murder of gay men in Chechnya.

Russian media and human rights groups have been reporting that homosexuals in the Russian region are being "rounded up" and taken to "concentration camps."

Up to 100 men are said to be held in the camps, and at least three have died.

Demonstrators in London draped in rainbows chanted "close the camps" on April 12 and laid pink flowers as passing drivers beeped their horns in support.

"When there are people elsewhere who are not afforded the same rights as we are, it's important that we stand up for them," protest organizer Steve Taylor told Reuters.

An online petition asking for a full investigation into the "unlawful repression" of the gay population in Chechnya has been signed by almost 70,000 people.

The story broke on April 1 in the respected Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta.

It claimed Chechen authorities were attempting a "complete cleansing" of homosexuals.

The Chechen Interior Ministry branded the story an "April Fools' joke," while Kremlin-backed leader Ramzan Kadyrov said there were no homosexuals in Chechnya to persecute.

Based on reporting by Reuters and the Evening Standard
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