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CE official says breakup of Moscow gay parade justified

ST. PETERSBURG, June 5 (RIA Novosti) - A top Council of Europe official said Monday that authorities in Moscow were justified in breaking up an unsanctioned gay pride parade in the capital in late May.

Human Rights Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg said peaceful demonstrations must not be prohibited no matter who might organize them, but he added that such actions could provoke social disturbances and authorities had the right to break them up.

The attempt to hold the gay parade in downtown Moscow on May 27 after the mayor banned it resulted in violent clashes between sexual minorities and their opponents - representatives of a number of political parties, religious and radical movements - and the detention of some 120 people from both sides, most of whom were later released.

Hammarberg also spoke out against promoting one kind of sexual relations over others and said everyone must have equal rights to sexual self-identity.

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