Veteran LGBT activist and campaigner Peter Tatchell was stopped by police as he staged a protest in Qatar ahead of next month’s World Cup.

Tatchell, 70, said he stood outside the National Museum of Qatar in Doha for about an hour on Tuesday wearing a T-shirt that said “Qatar is against gays” and a placard that read: “Qatar Arrests, Imprisons and Subjects LGBT People to ‘Conversion.’

He was stopped by five policemen, who folded his poster and photographed his passport and other documents, as well as the person who accompanied him.

Speaking before the protest, Mr Tatchell said: “Qatar cannot be allowed to tarnish its reputation in sport. He is using the World Cup to boost his international image. We need to make sure that the tyrant regime in Doha does not get a PR victory.

“Despite the fact that FIFA says that discrimination will not be tolerated, if a Qatari footballer were to come out as gay, he would be more likely to be arrested and imprisoned than selected for the national team. This is discrimination and against FIFA rules.

“I took this action to shed light on human rights abuses in Qatar against LGBT+ people, women, migrant workers and liberal Qataris. I support their brave fight against tyranny.”

Mr Tatchell, who is director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, a human rights organisation, staged a similar protest ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Soccer players concerned about LGBT rights in Qatar

The World Cup begins in the Persian Gulf country on November 20.

Homosexuality is illegal in the conservative Muslim country and some soccer stars have expressed concern about the rights of fans traveling to the event.

Organizers of the first-ever World Cup in the Middle Eastern country say everyone is welcome, regardless of their sexual orientation and background, and warn against public displays of affection.

Commenting on Mr Tatchell’s demonstration, Qatar’s Government Communications Office said “rumours” that he had been arrested were “totally false and baseless”.

“The person who was standing at the junction was cordially and professionally asked to move to the sidewalk, there were no arrests,” the report added.

But in an Sky News interviewThe head of Qatar’s World Cup, Nasser Al-Khater, said the country’s anti-LGBT laws would not be changed and fans should “respect the culture”.

“At the end of the day, as long as you don’t do anything that harms other people, as long as you don’t destroy public property, as long as you behave in a way that doesn’t cause harm, then everyone is welcome and you have nothing to worry about,” he said. .

He added that while fans will be able to wave rainbow flags, decisions on whether players will wear ‘One Love’ armbands will be made by FIFA.

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A Human Rights Watch report (HRW) claims Qatari police have arbitrarily arrested a number of LGBT people as recently as last month.

A Qatari official responded by saying that HRW’s claims “contain information that is categorically and unequivocally false.”

The spokesperson added: “Qatar does not discriminate against anyone and our policies and procedures are based on a commitment to human rights for all.”