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Over 50 participants of banned gay parade detained in Moscow


MOSCOW, May 27 (RIA Novosti) - Over 50 participants of an unsanctioned gay pride parade were detained in downtown Moscow, a source in the city's law enforcement agencies said Saturday.

The source said police had been instructed to stop all attempts to hold the banned demonstration.

Earlier, a police spokesman said security would be tight in central Moscow when the unsanctioned gay parade could take place.

Opposition to the planned event has been strong in Russia, especially from the Russian Orthodox Church and other religious leaders, and Moscow authorities feared 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 Friday. "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 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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