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St. Petersburg headteacher calls cops after two students fly LGBT rainbow flag alongside Russian tricolor

St. Petersburg headteacher calls cops after two students fly LGBT rainbow flag alongside Russian tricolor
A school in Russia's second-largest city has turned to the police after a rainbow flag was hung from a school flagpole during exam period. The LGBT pride banner is highly controversial in modern-day Russia.

The leadership of St. Petersburg school number 511 contacted law enforcement on July 9 after two students raised the flag outside the building.

According to the online publication Paper, two girls hung the multicolored symbol next to the Russian tricolor and were caught on CCTV.

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The flag remained on the pole for just five minutes before school security took it down.

Despite being flown for a short time, a photo of the flag still appeared online and has been shared by multiple accounts on Russia's largest social network, VKontakte.

In an interview with local news website 78.ru, the school's headteacher said that the flag was an "act of sabotage," perhaps linked to ongoing exams.

According to Paper, the school administration identified one of the students, and brought her in for an interview.

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The rainbow flag is a controversial symbol in Russia. Despite its ubiquity throughout the Soviet Union, decorating children's playgrounds and sports fields, recent links to gay rights has led to debate surrounding the seven-striped flag. As of 2013, "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors" is a criminal offense, which comes with a hefty fine. Some consider the rainbow flag to be pro-gay 'propaganda.'

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