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Moscow court rejects appeal against gay parade ban

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MOSCOW, September 19 (RIA Novosti) - The Moscow City Court rejected Tuesday an appeal lodged by the organizers of a gay pride parade in May against a ban on the event, a RIA Novosti correspondent reported from the courtroom.

The Tverskoy district court issued a ruling against the parade, planned for May 27, a day before, upholding a ban imposed earlier by City Hall.

"We intend to appeal shortly with the European Human Rights Court in Strasbourg to vindicate our rights, and also to lodge a complaint with the presidium of the Moscow City Court. We believe the decision it has handed down is against the law," Dmitry Bartenev, a lawyer representing the organizers, told RIA.

Gay activists went ahead with their May 27 march in Moscow in defiance of the authorities' ban, but riot police, supported by neo-Nazis and militant Christians, broke up the rally shortly before it began.

Although homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia in 1993, and quite a few gay clubs have opened since then in Moscow and other big cities, there is still a lot of resentment, both at the public and the state level, to open displays of homosexuality.

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