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Demonstrators Rally In St. Petersburg To Mourn Slain Russian LGBT Activist

Activists gathered in St. Petersburg to mourn Grigoryeva.

MOSCOW -- Several dozen demonstrators rallied in St. Petersburg to mourn Yelena Grigoryeva, an LGBT rights campaigner who was slain near her home in Russia's second-largest city.

The rally on July 23 came three days after Grigoryeva was found dead, apparently strangled and with multiple stab wounds, according to online newspaper Fontanka and a Facebook post by opposition campaigner Dinar Idrisov and the Russian LGBT Network.

Her death followed the circulation on the Internet of a "hit list" called Saw that threatened gays, lesbians, reporters, and others. Grigoryeva, an outspoken activist, was among those on the list.

Idrisov said the 41-year-old LGBT rights campaigner had received multiple threats online and through other means.

It is not yet clear whether Grigoryeva, a member of the St. Petersburg-based Alliance of Heterosexuals and LGBT People for Equal Rights, was targeted for her activism.

The Rosblat news outlet quoted authorities as speculating that the killing could have been a result of a personal conflict.

However, Marina Ken, one of the demonstrators, said that "Yelena was killed because she was not afraid to tell the truth about the subjects that are traditionally [not spoken of] in Russia and on the country's state TV channels."

Svetlana Zakharova of the Russian LGBT Network said "we are absolutely outraged that police haven't done anything to find the people behind" the Saw hit list.

Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community and advocates for their rights have been the targets of worsening threats in recent years.

President Vladimir Putin has asserted that Russia does not discriminate against gay people, but rights activists vocally dispute that.

The St. Petersburg protest consisted of so-called "solo" or "solitary" pickets, with individual participants maintaining a set distance from others involved in the demonstration. Under Russian law, such "solitary" demonstrators do not need official permission to gather.

With reporting by AP and dpa