Protests are being held at Russian embassies around the world ahead of a final vote tomorrow by St Petersburg’s legislature on its ‘gay propaganda’ ban.

Russia’s second-largest city plans to make it an offence to promote homosexuality or “transgender identity” around minors.

Over 270,000 people have now signed a petition calling on city officials to abandon a law critics say would effectively silence the public voice of the gay and trans community by fining individuals who promote such identities where minors can see them.

The draft law passed its second reading by 31 votes to 6.

Protests are also being held today outside the Russian embassies in Berlin, Buenos Aires, Milan, Paris, Rio de Janeiro and New York.

The third and final vote takes place tomorrow.

The European Parliament condemned the draft law and the others already passed in Ryazanm, Kostroma and Arkhangelsk in a resolution on Russia’s presidential elections.

Andre Banks, Executive Director of AllOut.org says the reputation of the city, known as Petrograd and Leningrad in the 20th century, as Russia’s window to the west “can’t coexist with a new law that will muzzle artists, writers, musicians and regular citizens who live in – or visit – the city.

He adds: “This bill, which would violate Russia’s own constitution as well as any number of international treaties, is an outrageous attack on the freedom of expression for all Russians – straight and gay. It must not be allowed to stand.”

AllOut.org has started a new petition targeting St Petersburg as a tourist destination.

The Don’t Go There letter has amassed 65,000 signatories and will be delivered to Governor Poltavchenko.

The letter says: “As the top custodian of Saint Petersburg, city of Tchaikovsky and Russia’s “window to the west,” we call on you to veto this draconian bill that could silence the speech of ALL Russians.

“Russia is a strong, independent country – but we all live in a globalized world. If this bill is signed in to law, I will not and cannot travel to Saint Petersburg, and will urge all of my friends and acquaintances to follow suit.”