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Russian Police Detain LGBT Activists On Military Holiday

Several gay rights activists have been detained by police in St. Petersburg while trying to hold demonstrations on a Russian military holiday.

Police detained Yury Gavrikov, leader of an LGBT rights group, as he left his home to stage a one-man picket on August 2 in front of the Hermitage Museum on Paratroopers Day, when Russian airborne-forces veterans traditionally roam through public parks in their signature berets and striped T-shirts.

Police accused Gavrikov of cursing in public, a charge he denied. He was held at a police station while awaiting a court hearing.

Veterans of Russia's airborne forces confronted several other LGBT activists staging individual pickets near the museum, tearing up their posters and pulling rainbow-colored flags from their hands.

The activists were quickly taken away by police.

Russia has faced harsh criticism for its record on gay rights, including a vaguely worded law banning "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" to minors.

Based on reporting by AP and