A kissing campaign for LGBT rights in Chechnya has attracted support from all over the world.
Hundreds of gay couples have uploaded photos of themselves kissing and geo-tag themselves as being at the Kremlin in Moscow.
Brazilian social justice project [SSEX BBOX] – an abbreviation of ‘Sexuality Outside The Box’ – started the movement on Instagram under the hashtag #kiss4lgbtqrights.
The group, which “seeks to offer multiple perspectives on sexuality and gender,” was provoked into action by the gay purge in Chechnya, which has seen more than 100 men detained, tortured and killed.
At least four people have died during the horrifying crackdown on gay men, who the region’s government has repeatedly said do not count as real Chechens.
[SSEX BBOX] started the campaign because it wanted to create “the biggest kiss in the world” to speak out “against the silencing of the LGBTQIA population in Russia.”
The statement continued: “In Brazil, despite the enormous violence against the LGBTQIA population, we can fight for our rights.
“But our community in Russia can not and therefore needs our help.”
Eight people were arrested earlier this year in Brazil after a video of men savagely beating a trans woman to death after she begged for her life went viral.
Although Brazil legalised same-sex marriage in 2013 and hosts the world’s largest Pride celebration, LGBT attacks are upsettingly common.
A survey earlier this year found that one LGBT person was killed every 25 hours in Brazil throughout 2016.
[SSEX BBOX] observed that “in Russia, LGBTQIAs are being shut up by the Putin government.
“The LGBTQIA Parade has been banned by law for 100 years! And freedom of expression is increasingly restricted.
“Therefore, we will make the biggest digital kiss in the world at the place where public protests of LGBTQIA get people throw in jail: the Moscow Kremlin.”
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Tem gente morrendo e sendo torturada na Rússia apenas por ser quem é. Homossexuais são reprimidos, enviados a campos de concentração e outros absurdos que nem temos conhecimento. Hoje é #DiaDoSilêncio, mas vamos dar voz a um movimento chamado #Kiss4LGBTQrights. Poste uma foto de beijo, use a tag, marque Kremlim na localização e #NãoSilencieOAmor, vamos juntos fazer parte desse protesto virtual em apoio a todos que lutam pela liberdade. A imagem que postei é cena de #Milk, filme onde Sean Pean interpreta Harvey Milk, político e ativista gay, primeiro homem abertamente gay a vencer uma eleição na Califórnia.
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Amar é lindo. Amar é livre! Mas em alguns lugares do mundo essa é uma condição limitada. Na Rússia, existem leis que proíbem a homossexualidade e qualquer manifestação em defesa da liberdade sexual. Em locais como a Chechênia há relatos de campos de concentração, para onde gays são levados e torturados. Hoje, no dia do silêncio, vamos mandar muito amor para essas pessoas que não podem ser quem são. Poste uma foto de um beijo, marque Kremlin na localização e use as tags #Kiss4LGBTQrights e #NãoSilencieOAmor, grite para e com o mundo que amar é tudo de bom. Essas maravilhosas na foto são a @lelagomes e @giordannaforte.
Earlier today, police detained five activists before they could deliver three hugely popular petitions against the purge to the Russian Prosecutor General in Moscow.
The Russian government gave permission for the country’s human rights ombudsman to investigate the purge last week.
But just yesterday, the Russian Embassy in Israel said an investigation had taken place and found nothing, and that reports of a purge were being used as “a propaganda campaign against Russia”.
The letter to Israeli publication Haaretz claimed: “We would like to note that the Russian system of government is of a democratic nature”.
This was just hours before these activists were detained for trying to deliver petitions.
Victims of the gay purge are reportedly being beaten and tortured with electricity, as well as being forced to live with no water or food.
The Russian LGBT Network has also helped to evacuate 40 gay men from the region, with those involved describing the “deadly dangerous” situation they found there.
And the reports have been separately confirmed by Human Rights Watch and the International Crisis Group, both of which cite on-the-ground sources that appear to confirm gay men have been targeted for detention.
In its report, HRW said: “The information published by Novaya Gazeta is consistent with the reports Human Rights Watch recently received from numerous trusted sources, including sources on the ground.
“The number of sources and the consistency of the stories leaves us with no doubt that these devastating developments have indeed occurred.”
Journalists at Novaya Gazeta who exposed the purge have been forced into hiding as they have received numerous threats from the largest mosque in the region, which has declared jihad against the newspaper.
Earlier this week, Chechnya leader Ramzan Kadyrov denied that there have ever been any gay men to persecute in the region, and called them “fake” Chechens.
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The region’s leader said he would cooperate with Russian president Vladimir Putin’s investigation into reports of gay men being abducted, tortured and killed in the republic, though he denied any gay Chechens actually existed.
Following the initial reports, it was revealed that Chechnya authorities are forcing gay men into concentration camps, sparking an outcry from LGBT and human rights activists across the world.
A number of heart-breaking stories from the region have been shared, including stories of parents of gay people who were issued a warning to kill their children before police killed them in torture camps.
Tanya Lokshina, from the Human Rights Watch, said that Chechen authorities had been conducting “extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, torture and cruel and degrading treatment” over the span of the last two decades.
Britain’s deputy foreign secretary revealed the terrifying threat from the Chechen leader while taking an urgent question on the situation in parliament last month.
Ramadan starts on May 26 this year and is widely celebrated in Chechnya, which is a predominantly Muslim area.