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23:10 GMT +3 hours19 December 2014
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Russia

Moscow authorities set to ban gay parade again

Russia
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Moscow authorities said they will ban all attempts to hold unsanctioned events by the gay community over the May holidays, City Hall said Thursday.
MOSCOW, April 24 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow authorities said they will ban all attempts to hold unsanctioned events by the gay community over the May holidays, City Hall said Thursday.

"The capital's authorities will not permit unauthorized actions by sexual minorities in Moscow scheduled for May 1 and 2," the City Hall press service said in a statement.

Moscow authorities rejected official applications by Gay Parade organizers in 2006 and 2007 for permission to march, on the grounds that it would interfere with the rights and everyday lives of ordinary Muscovites.

The statement also ran that the authorities would block all attempts to hold such events "as society's absolute majority does not accept gay lifestyles or their philosophy."

Mayor Yury Luzhkov has branded gay pride parades "Satanic" and vowed that they would never be permitted in the capital, while the Russian Orthodox Church and various far-right groups have sworn to halt any attempt to hold a march in support of gay rights in Russia.

Last year, Moscow's Tverskoi District Court ruled that a city ban on holding a Gay Pride Parade was legal. Around 100 protestors subsequently gathered outside City Hall to submit a petition to the mayor against what they called an 'unfounded and illegal prohibition on holding the march in support of sexual minorities in Russia.'

The protest turned violent and a British gay rights activist was kicked and beaten by extremists, and police detained 31 people, including two Italian members of the European parliament, in the ensuing skirmish.

Homosexuality was legalized in Russia in 2003, but discrimination against gays and lesbians remains widespread. The hostile crowd during the 2007 May demonstration included people carrying crosses and wearing Orthodox Church dress, along with ultranationalists.

Russia is a member of the Council of Europe, and a signatory to the European Convention of Human Rights, which obliges the state to allow demonstrations to be held.