A lone gay rights activist, Krill Kalugin, was assaulted by a violent group of Russian paratroopers in the city that was the birth place of the country’s anti-gay legislation.

Mr Kalugin was holding a rainbow banner in St Petersburg that read “This is propagating tolerance” when he was attacked.

President Vladimir Putin signed the law in June banning the promotion of “non-traditional relationships” toward minors, a move that has been criticised as part of a broader crackdown on Russia’s gay community. The law is based on one first passed in St Petersburg.

The law has so far sparked controversy among LGBT activists, with some calling for a boycott of the 2014 Games. Others have also called to boycott Russian vodka as a form of protest.

Last month, the International Olympics Committee said in a statement that it had received reassurance from the Russian government that athletes and spectators will be exempt from the country’s anti-gay laws.

But sports minister Vitaly Mutko said in a recent interview:”No one is banning a sportsman with a non-traditional sexual orientation from going to Sochi. But if he goes out onto the street and starts to make propaganda, then of course he will be brought to responsibility.”

Mr Mutko also said that sportsmen should respect the laws of the country.

Although riot police intervened to arrest the paratroopers, it is not known if Mr Kalugin was arrested or charged too.

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