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Last Updated: Monday, 29 January 2007, 18:27 GMT
Moscow bans 'satanic' gay parade
Moscow's mayor Yuri Luzhkov. File photo
Luzhkov: Gay propaganda "unacceptable"
Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov has said he will never allow a gay rights parade in the Russian capital.

Speaking to reporters, Mr Luzhkov described such events as "satanic".

Moscow banned a gay march in 2006, citing the threat of violence. People who ignored the ban were beaten up by counter-demonstrators and arrested.

Gay activists say the ban breaches their fundamental human rights. They say they intend to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

"Last year, Moscow came under unprecedented pressure to sanction the gay parade, which cannot be called anything other than satanic," Mr Luzhkov said.

Trying to silence us, the Russian authorities denied us one of the fundamental human rights
Nikolai Alexeyev, parade organiser

"We did not let the parade take place then, and we are not going to allow it in the future," he said.

The mayor also blamed groups which he said were receiving grants from the West for spreading what he dismissively referred to as "this kind of enlightenment" in Russia.

He thanked the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Alexy II, for supporting him in banning a gay march last year.

Defiant

Some people who took part in the unauthorised event were beaten up by right-wing counter-demonstrators or detained by police.

Bookstand in Moscow gay lifestyle store. File photo
Moscow's gay community is split over the march

But the parade's organisers say they plan to hold the event in May and will appeal against the ban in the Strasbourg court.

"Trying to silence us, the Russian authorities denied us one of the fundamental human rights. The European justice will have the last say in this case," Nikolai Alexeyev, one of the parade organisers, said in a statement.

Gay activists in Russia are divided over whether the march should be held, the BBC's James Rodgers in Moscow says.

Some suggest that holding the parade at all will simply provoke a backlash from their opponents, our correspondent says.


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