08/02/2013 22:34 EDT | Updated 10/02/2013 05:12 EDT

Vancouver gay-rights activists smooch at Russian Consulate

Gay-rights activists in Vancouver protesting anti-gay laws in Russia have staged a kiss-in outside the Russian Consulate downtown.

About 50 protesters gathered outside the Russian Consulate building to smooch, with women laying their lips on other women and men kissing other men — acts that would be deemed illegal in Russia.

Protest organizer Yogi Omar said that's precisely why the demonstrators did what they did.

"Something that is considered as gay propaganda in Russia, for us here is an act of love," Omar said.

New Russian laws ban gay pride rallies and make it illegal to talk publicly about homosexuality if it could influence minors.

The laws have already come under fire in Canada, with criticism coming from Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird.

Demonstrator Winifred Tovey said she was drawn to the kiss-in in the name of global gay rights.

"I think it's important for those of us … in this much safer society to put our solidarity into the public eye," Tovey said.

CBC News contacted the Russian Consulate and the embassy in Ottawa, but calls were not returned.