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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Gay Rights Protesters Attacked -- Moscow

Gay Rights Advocate Attacked by Religious Extremist in Moscow

An unsanctioned gay pride parade descended into violence Sunday as religious activists arrived to break up the demonstration and police detained protesters. 

More than 10 people were arrested outside the Moscow City Duma Sunday, where gay rights activists had planned to hold to protest a new law being discussed that would ban "homosexual propaganda," RIA-Novosti reported.

Three of those arrested were Orthodox Church activists who had come to disrupt the protest, while the other detained demonstrators were all participants of the gay rights protest, including event organizer Nikolai Alekseyev. 

News media showed pictures and videos of physical altercations between the two groups in which a man holding a rainbow flag was being attacked as journalists stood by with cameras rolling.
Other pictures showed activists hold signs, including one anti-gay protester whose sign read "Moscow is not Sodom."

After the arrests, the remaining activists were dispersed, and police stayed behind with several police buses to guard the area against further disturbances. 

The organizers of the parade had planned for a crowd of several thousand to gather for a picket at the City Duma at 1 p.m. and to move to City Hall an hour later. Police had warned that demonstrators could face arrests and fines for holding an unsanctioned protest. 

City authorities have repeatedly refused to allow gay parades, denying permission at lease six times since 2006.

The City Duma last month began discussions on the creation of an anti-gay law similar to one already in force in St. Petersburg, but have also decided to broaden its scope to ban all kinds of "sexual propaganda."

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