Demonstrators will gather outside the Russian embassy in Berlin tomorrow (15 February) in protest against a proposed anti-gay law in St. Petersburg.
The protest, which kicks off at 5pm and is organized by gay rights groups in Germany and Russia, is timed for the same day that the Legislative Assembly in St. Petersburg holds the third and final reading of the bill which would criminalize the ‘promotion of homosexuality’.
If passed, the law would prevent public discussion of LGBT issues, human rights work or any gay or trans events.
Campaigners will call on both the Parliament and Governor of St. Petersburg, as well as the German government, to protect the constitutional rights of Russia's people.
Joint protest organizers, the St. Petersburg-based Side by Side LGBT International Film festival, said the legislation has been forced through without any public discussion.
A statement from Side by Side said: 'The bill has no scientific or medical grounding and contributes directly to the spread of hatred and increase of xenophobia in society.
'It is a direct violation of the rights and freedoms of not only LGBT people but all Russian citizens, including the rights to freedom of expression and dissemination of information - all of which are enshrined both in the Constitution of the Russian Federation, as well as European Convention of Human Rights.
‘This continuing onslaught against LGBT people by politicians in Saint Petersburg can only lessen even further Russia’s already appalling record on human rights and democracy.’
The international community has reacted to the bill with alarm.
On Friday (10 February) the US State Department expressed its opposition, while actor and TV presenter Stephen Fry likened St Petersburg's leaders to Nazis.