Pride organisers are promising a high spirited event this weekend - but another type of spirit has been banished from the celebrations.

Bosses behind the annual lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender festival are refusing to stock Russian vodka over recent law changes in the country that affect its LGBT residents.

The new law imposes heavy fines for providing information about homosexuality to people under 18 in the superpower state.

In addition to banning Russian vodka, Brighton's gay businesses have teamed up to organise a walking tableau as part of the Pride parade this weekend.

The tableau will feature 100 posters showing Brighton and Hove's support of Russian LGBT people, designed by students at the University of Brighton.

Paul Kemp, director of Brighton Pride, said although the event was often perceived as “just a party or celebration”, he believed it should have a “strong political core” as well.

He added: “We love to party once a year but it is the cause of equality and freedom that drives us to be as visible and proactive as possible.

“We would encourage everyone to show their solidarity for the Russian LGBT community.”In further support of Russian LGBT people, political activist Vince Laws is undertaking a mass face-painting exhibition for the tableau parade.

As part of his BANNED movement, he'll be painting the faces of seventy six people with the name of one of the 76 countries in the world where it is illegal to be gay.

Sussex Police estimated last week it was expecting around 160,000 visitors to Brighton and Hove over the coming Pride weekend for the 21st edition of the famous festival.

A Pride spokesman said: "The equality and freedom message of Brighton Pride is clearer than ever this year as we march and celebrate in solidarity with the oppressed LGBT population of Russia.

“We are one LGBT family and we will highlight hate, injustice and homophobia wherever we see it."

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