Human Rights Watch Releases Video Showing Anti-Gay Attacks in Russia

Three days before the start of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, the Human Rights Watch released a video detailing the discrimination and brutal physical attacks openly carried out against members of the LGBT community in Russia.

The footage was compiled from videos of the attacks that the attackers have posted online.

"By turning a blind eye to hateful homophobic rhetoric and violence, Russian authorities are sending a dangerous message as the world is about to arrive on its doorstep for the Olympics that there is nothing wrong with attacks on gay people," Tanya Cooper, a Russia researcher at Human Rights Watch, told the New York Times.

According to HRW, the victims are often attacked in public or they're abducted after meeting someone for what they think is a date. One particularly terrible clip from the video shows a man being forced to sodomize himself at gunpoint with a bottle after he was lured and abducted by an anti-gay group.

The HRW also reports that the attacks have increased in frequency since last year, when Russia passed a federal law banning "homosexual propaganda." Here's video of that law being enforced:

Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin attempted to downplay fears that gay men and women might be in danger during the Olympics. "[Gay] people can feel free and at ease," he said, "but please leave the children alone."