Dozens held at Moscow gay pride rally

Moscow, May 26 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Several dozens of LGBT activists and their “opponents” were detained in the Russian capital Saturday during a string of gay pride events, Moscow police said.

The majority were held during an attempted gay pride rally in front of the City Hall, which refused earlier to sanction the event.

Several gay rights activists were also held near the State Duma building when attempting to stage consecutive solitary pickets, which require no official permits.

Police said that at least 30 people were detained in downtown Moscow.

At least one conservative protester was held by the Duma for assaulting two female LGBT activists, a witness said.

Several self-proclaimed Cossacks also appeared by the Duma to oppose LGBT activists, chanting a prayer but not intervening.

Gay rights activists and their opponents clashed at the popular Gorky Park, which includes one of Moscow’s so-called areas allotted by the city authorities for demonstrations.

Police said that some 15 activists from both sides were held.

Gay rights activists have been requesting permits to hold a rally in Moscow since 2006, but city authorities repeatedly refused to sanction the event.

An anti-xenophobia rally staged by gay rights activists was sanctioned in St. Petersburg last year, but ended in an attack by ultranationalists that police failed to stop.

Russian authorities stepped up the crackdown on the LGBT community since last year, with several regions passing the ban on the vaguely defined “gay propaganda among minors”.

The ban was proposed for nationwide adoption and successfully passed the first reading in the State Duma in January.

Separately, some 50 LGBT activists successfully held a 30-minute gay pride rally in the Ukrainian capital Kiev Saturday, police protecting them from a crowd of 400 conservatives opposing the event.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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