Russian youths beat St Patrick's flashmob, mistaking for gays

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Russian youths beat St Patrick's flashmob, mistaking for gays
People stand along 5th avenue during the St. Patrick's Day parade in New York March 17, 2014. About one million spectators, mostly dressed in green, streamed into New York on Monday for its St. Patrick's Day Parade, even as the city's mayor and beer companies that previously sponsored the event dropped out amid concerns that organizers excluded gay groups.

MOSCOW - A group of thugs in Russia's Siberian city of Irkutsk beat up members of a St. Patrick's Day-themed flashmob, mistaking them for gay activists, Interfax news agency reported Monday, citing police.

A fight broke out after students at a language school held a belated St Patrick's Day flashmob in a mall in Irkutsk, a police spokesman said.

"On Sunday evening, members of Easy School held a St Patrick's Day flashmob in the mall. Some youths came up to them and expressed displeasure at the proceedings. A conflict took place that grew into a fight on the square outside the mall," the spokesman said.

A law enforcement source told Interfax that the fight was based on a misunderstanding.

"The Easy School members were wearing historic costumes, particularly kilts and their opponents mistook them for representatives of non-traditional sexual orientation," the source said, using a Russian phrase meaning gay.

The school posted a video of the flash mob on the social networking site VKontakte showing many wearing checked kilts and confirmed its students and teachers were hurt in the fight.

"Yes our students and teachers were among the injured but it could have been any young people who weren't to the taste of these grey masses," the school said in a statement.

Police said a teacher at the school suffered mild concussion.

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