An attack on an LGBT center in St. Petersburg left one person injured, after two men opened fire on a weekly meeting Sunday evening.
The two shooters entered the Laskai Center, a safe space for LGBT citizens in one of Russia's largest cities. Wielding traumatic pistols - high powered, widely sold air guns that are used for both self-defense and mischief-making - the two sprayed bullets across the room, hitting one person in the eye who was immediately rushed to the hospital.
According to members of the Laskai group who spoke with the Telegraph, some were gathered at the center for a "rainbow tea party" during the time of the assault. The weekly event was held one day after the "March Against Hatred," which many attendees had gathered there to discuss. The March is a yearly event that aims to counter a demonstration called the "Russian March" organized by right wing extremists and nationalists in the country. Around 25,000 people are expected to march in a handful of events in Moscow in celebration of the Day of National Unity, a holiday that replaced a festival for the October revolution that was introduced during Soviet times.
Law enforcement officials in St. Petersburg told the Telegraph that they're still "trying to establish the circumstances of the incident."
Recent Russian legislation has demonstrated the largely anti-gay sentiments of the country - earlier this year, a Kremlin-backed law that banned homosexual propaganda was put into place.
Now, American gay-rights group The Human Rights Campaign has teamed up with a host of celebrities including Jonah Hill and Jamie Lee Curtis to spread awareness and challenge these laws. As part of the initiative, participating celebrities post pictures of themselves online wearing t-shirts that bear the message, "Love Conquers Hate."
"We stand with Russia's LGBT community and their allies," HRC President Chad Griffin told the Associated Press. "We are committed to doing as much as we possibly can to support their efforts to repeal this heinous law."