Dozens of people were arrested when riot police broke up a gay march in Moscow. Campaigners had gathered in defiance of an official ban on homosexual demonstrations in Russia. Moscow city authorities had said the rally was morally wrong.
Among those arrested was the high-profile British gay rights’ activist Peter Tatchell, and American campaigner Andy Thayer. “I’m with the Gay Liberation Network in Chicago and I’m proud to be here, part of this demonstration,” said Thayer as he was dragged away. The Mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, has condemned gay parades as “satanic” and counter-demonstrators echoed his views. An Orthodox Christian youth group said homosexuality had no place in Russia. “We want to protest firmly and say ‘no’ to this gay pride, which is an act of soul terrorism,” said Michael Nalimov, from the United Orthodox Youth Movement. The gay rally coincided with the Eurovision Song Contest, being held in Moscow this year and which has a strong gay following. Some performers reportedly threatened not to sing if the gay march was banned.