People at several gay clubs in Moscow were briefly held and had their passports were photographed in police raids on Friday, a day after Russia’s Supreme Court moved to outlaw the ‘LGBT movement’.

Citing local media, the BBC reports that at least three clubs were raided on Friday evening in the Russian capital.

An eyewitness is quoted as saying: ‘In the middle of the party, the music was stopped, and [police] began going into the lounges.’

According to the BBC, Friday’s 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.

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.

BBC correspondent in Moscow Steve Rosenberg notes that in recent years the country’s LGBT community has come under increasing pressure from the authorities. 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.