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120 detained during banned gay parade in Moscow - police

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MOSCOW, May 27 (RIA Novosti) - Some 120 people were detained during an unsanctioned gay pride parade in downtown Moscow, but most of them were later released, the city police said Saturday.

Earlier, a police source said 1,000 policemen on duty in the city's center had been instructed to stop all attempts to hold the banned demonstration and prevent possible clashes between the parade participants and aggressively minded youth groups.

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

"Overall, some 200 people, including both the organizers and young people supporting the event, took part in the demonstration to support the gay movement," the Moscow police said. "Besides, opponents of the sexual minorities' action - representatives of a number of political parties, religious and radical movements - gathered in the city center."

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.

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