MOSCOW, Russia, May 29, 2006 ( – Violence broke out between demonstrators and opponents at an unauthorized Gay Pride parade in Moscow on Saturday. Police said over 120 arrests were made in the city center, reported Interfax.

Despite a ban by the city government, upheld by a Moscow district court on Friday, homosexual activists flouted the law and went ahead with a “gay pride” parade. The ban on the parade was supported by all major religious groups in the city.

City officials had called for an estimated 1,000 policemen to maintain order during the anticipated demonstration. The parade attempt degenerated into violence, as participants clashed with opponents of the demonstration.

Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, who refused to grant the organizers a permit for the parade, reaffirmed his opposition to the event in a radio broadcast earlier last week.

“We will not even consider this matter. We will not give our consent. At least as long as I am mayor, we will not permit such parades,” Mayor Luzhkov stated in a live broadcast on Russkoye Radio.

“Our Church, Mosque and Synagogue, that is to say, all the three major confessions in Moscow have spoken strongly against such parades,” Luzhkov said. “The situation as such can be acceptable for some Western countries advanced in this respect, but it is absolute unacceptable for Moscow and for Russia.”

“Morality works here. If one has any deviations from normal principles in organizing one’s sexual life, these deviations should not be exhibited for all to see.”

“I thank the Muscovites as 99.9% of them also believe it unacceptable to hold such parades,” he said

The Council of Europe attempted to pressure Moscow into permitting the parade, insinuating they were bound to do so by the European Convention on Human Rights.

Russia decriminalized homosexuality in 1993, under pressure from Europe.

See previous coverage:
  Moscow Gay Pride Ban Rebuked by Council of Europe
  Moscow Mayor Luzhkov Says “No” to Gay Pride Parade
  Russian Jewish Leaders Join Orthodox in Supporting Moscow Mayor’s Ban on Gay Pride


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