Arrests under Russia anti-gay law
Moscow - Two Russian men were arrested on Friday for illegally engaging in "pro-gay propaganda", in the first-ever enforcement a controversial new law that bans making statements supporting homosexuality in public.
Police in St Petersburg arrested the pair as they were standing in a central district of Russia's second-largest city and holding up placards reading "Homosexuality is normal".
A new city code that went into effect on February 29 stipulates fines for persons who "propagandise non-traditional lifestyles" in a public space.
Supporters of the law have said it is necessary in order to promote traditional Russian values. Human rights groups have said the law violates personal freedoms guaranteed in the Russian constitution.
Russia's national legislature the Duma currently is considering a bill which, if passed, would make public support of homosexuality or lesbianism illegal across the country.