The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland expressed regret on Monday over the crackdown on gay activists during an unsanctioned parade in Moscow at the weekend.
"I regret the clashes that occurred between gay activists and nationalist extremists in Moscow yesterday... The right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, as enshrined in Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights, belongs to all people without any discrimination," Jagland said, adding that the police had a duty to protect peaceful demonstrators.
Over 30 people were arrested on Saturday as gay activists and their opponents clashed. City authorities had earlier rejected an application for a gay parade in the center of Moscow, citing complaints from religious groups, ultra-nationalists and the Moscow City Parent Committee.
Earlier on Monday, the French Foreign Ministry called on Russia to respect the right to freedom of expression and assembly.
MOSCOW, May 30 (RIA Novosti)