Gay rights activists in West Hollywood dumped vodka onto the street on Thursday (August 01) to protest new laws in Russia targeting homosexuals, as a growing number of gay bar owners across the United States vowed to stop pouring Russian vodka.

Community leaders and bar owners gathered in the famously gay-friendly city and emptied bottles of Stolichnaya.

"This is our way of showing our support and focusing worldwide media attention on what's happening there through the symbolic dumping of Russian vodka brands. We hope that the business leaders in Russia take notice that they are in our crosshairs and we are not going to stand by and allow people in Russia to endure the treatment they've been going through," said local bar owner Alfredo Diaz.

The boycott was called last week by gay rights activist and Seattle-based sex advice columnist Dan Savage in response to anti-gay violence and restrictive laws in Russia. Since then, owners of mostly gay bars from San Francisco to New York have vowed to stop serving Stolichnaya and other Russian vodka.

The call to dump Russian vodka came after Russian investigators said in May that a 23-year-old man had been tortured and killed after revealing to a friend that he was gay.

In June, Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a law banning gay "propaganda," which critics have said effectively disallows all gay rights rallies and could be used to prosecute anyone voicing support for homosexuals.

Presented by Adam Justice