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Close to Russia’s parliament – the Duma – a gay and lesbian “kissing protest” has been held as the controversial issue of gay rights in Russia is thrust into the spotlight.

Activists are fighting a proposal by the ruling United Russia party for the Duma to ban gay propaganda among minors.

But the vague wording is causing concern that gays could be fined for demonstrating or even holding hands in public.

Homophobic attacks are becoming more frequent and even tolerated in some places. Anti-gay bills are also sometimes hijacked by politicians for career promotion.

Gay rights campaigner Igor Yasin told euronews: “Recently, because of this obscure anti-gay propaganda imposed by the government, the level of violence and attacks on gays and lesbians has gone up. Sometimes people are even killed, but nobody speaks of that; those crimes are not investigated.”

Three months ago a gay club in Moscow was attacked by a group using mace and beating people up.

A poll last year showed most Russians find homosexuality “morally and socially unacceptable”.

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