A Russian gay couple were arrested Monday while trying to leave a tribute outside the US embassy in Moscow to victims of the Orlando shooting rampage, the RBK newspaper reported.
Islam Abdullabeckov, a social media editor for the newspaper, and his boyfriend Felix Glyukman were trying to leave flowers and a sign reading “Love wins - Stay with Orlando” outside the embassy when they were detained, they told RBK.
“The police arrested us straight away and put us in their car for so-called ‘unauthorised action’,” Abdullabeckov said.
“We only wanted to express our condolences for the murder of these people and we had not at all planned any kind of political act,” he added.
The two men, who list themselves as being in a relationship on Facebook, posted photos on the website that they took inside the police car.
“This is completely surreal,” Abdullabeckov wrote in a caption.
Glyukman added: “We tried to leave flowers and a sign at the embassy -- we did not succeed.”
He also posted a photo of himself in detention on Instagram with his sign fallen to the ground.
A pile of flowers and candles have been left outside the US embassy in Moscow, a day after Omar Mateen gunned down 49 people in a gay nightclub in the Florida resort city of Orlando.
The attack, which the Islamic State group says was carried out on its behalf, has sparked an outpouring of grief and anger around the world, with Russian President Vladimir Putin branding the killings “a barbaric crime”.
But gay rights demonstrations are systematically banned in Russia, where homosexuality was a criminal offence until 1993 and categorised as a mental illness until 1999.
The LGBT community in Russia continues to suffer widespread homophobia.