Police in Moscow have broken up a march by gay rights activists. Several dozen campaigners had gathered near a university in defiance of a ban on gay parades. They had timed their protest to coincide with tonight’s Eurovision song contest being hosted in Moscow, and which has a huge gay following. They said they wanted to highlight discrimination in Russia against the homosexual community.
Earlier city authorities had outlawed the parade saying it was morally wrong. Moscow’s mayor went further: he branded gay parades as “Satanic.” A counter-demonstration by nationalist and religious groups was allowed to go ahead. Activists claim there have been many attacks on members of Russia’s gay community – they also say they risk being sacked by their employers and being shunned by their families. Those arrested say their detention symbolises just how much gay rights are under fire in Russia.