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1,000 police to take Moscow streets for banned gay pride parade

MOSCOW, May 26 (RIA Novosti) - Security will be tight in downtown Moscow Saturday when an unsanctioned gay parade could take place in central streets, a city police spokesman said Friday.

Opposition to the would-be event has been strong in Russia, especially from the Russian Orthodox Church and other religious leaders, and Moscow authorities fear that parade participants could be attacked by aggressively minded youth groups.

"About 1,000 policemen will be on duty in the city's center during the anticipated gay parade," Yevgeny Gildeyev said. "All the central streets will be under control, as the exact location where the organizers plan to hold the event is unknown."

A Moscow district court Friday upheld a ban imposed by the city government on the parade, which was slated for Saturday. The court rejected an appeal by the event's organizers against a Moscow city government decision to prohibit the event to mark the 13th anniversary of homosexuality being decriminalized in Russia.

Foreign pressure groups have joined the chorus asking for the Moscow mayor's office to allow the event, but opposition has been strong within the country, especially from the church. An Orthodox priest was seen blessing a group - many holding religious banners - that attacked a gay nightclub in Moscow in late April.

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