Around a dozen people were arrested in Moscow on Sunday when police broke up an unofficial Pride event outside of the City Hall building.
While several Pride marchers were arrested, including prominent activist Nikolai Alexeyev, a number of so-called religious activists, who had attempted to break up the parade, some of them with violence, were also detained.
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.”
A video of the attack mentioned above is available here.
The event was organized to commemorate the official decriminalization of homosexuality in Russia.
The irony of course is that despite repeated condemnation by the European Union, Russian officials have refused to sanction Pride parades since 2006, which the European Court of Human Rights has said directly infringes citizens’ rights to autonomy and freedom of assembly.
This is further compounded by laws like the one recently passed in St Petersburg which bans the “promotion” of LGBT identity. This has been used to prosecute gay rights protesters and indeed is a charge that activist Nikolai Alexeyev has already been prosecuted under.
The Russian Duma is now considering a similar law to bring into force a nationwide ban on the so-called promotion of homosexuality.