Police in Moscow have raided several gay clubs, local media report, a day after Russia’s Supreme Court moved to outlaw the “LGBT movement”.

Club goers were briefly held and their passports were photographed during the raids late on Friday, Telegram channel Ostorozhno Novosti said.

One attendee told the channel he feared he would be given a lengthy jail term.

The police said they were searching for drugs, Ostorozhno Novosti said. City officials have not commented so far.

“In the middle of the party, the music was stopped, and [police] began going into the lounges”, one eyewitness told the outlet, adding that foreigners were also present at the gathering in central Moscow.

Sota, another Telegram channel, said three clubs were raided on Friday evening in the Russian capital.

Photos and a video have emerged on social media purportedly showing a police van and officers outside one of the clubs.

The raids came a day after Russia’s Supreme Court declared what it described as the “LGBT public movement” an extremist organisation and banned its activities across the country.

The ruling was prompted by a motion from the justice ministry, although no such organisation exists as a legal entity.

Russia’s constitution was changed in 2020 to make it clear that marriage meant a union between a man and a woman. Same-sex unions are not recognised in Russia.

In recent years the country’s LGBT community has come under increasing pressure from the authorities, says the BBC’s Steve Rosenberg in Moscow. In 2013 a law was adopted prohibiting “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” aimed at minors.

Last year, those restrictions were extended to all age groups in Russia. References to LGBT people have been deleted from books, films, adverts and TV shows.

Earlier this month, one Russian TV channel discoloured a rainbow in a South Korean pop video, to avoid being accused of violating the “gay propaganda” law.

Source: BBC