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Moscow bans pride parade as St. Pete sees homophobic attacks

Moscow bans pride parade as St. Pete sees homophobic attacks

Moscow under its new mayor has refused to sanction a gay pride in the city for the seventh year in a row.

This comes after several dozen neo-Nazis attacked IDAHO (International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia) rally participants in St. Petersburg on Thursday (17 May).

LGBT activists, however, are unfazed by the growing hostility towards homosexuality in the country and vow to proceed with the parade in Moscow, scheduled for 27 May.

‘We’ll appeal in the Tverskoi court on Monday, we disagree with the refusal,’ said organizer Nikolai Alexeyev, who was also the first activist to be convicted under St. Petersburg’s anti-gay law. ‘We’ll hold the rally in any case.’

Activists have held unsanctioned pride rallies in Moscow in previous years, when they gathered in undisclosed venues and dispersed before police arrived.

According to the GayRussia Group, the official in charge of security said the scheduled march would ‘provoke a negative reaction in society’, arguing the public would see it as a ‘provocation, causing moral harm to children and teenagers.’

Incumbent mayor Sergei Sobyanin and his long-serving predecessor Yury Luzhkov have both spoken against gay rights rallies, with Luzhkov denouncing them as ‘Satanic’.

In the Russian second city of St. Petersburg, the first sanctioned rally since the city legislature passed a law banning gay propaganda ended in violence and saw several participants injured.

Dozens gathered in a city center park to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. They chanted slogans and gave out balloons, even as a larger crowd of protesters behind a police cordon shouted obscenities at them and at police, RT reported.

Eventually, an unidentified man struggled past the police and sprayed maze into the face of a participant. Forced to wrap up the event, participants were escorted by police onto buses, only to be attacked again a few blocks away by a large group of thugs dressed in soccer fans’ or neo-Nazi insignia, some shaven-headed.

After throwing several smoke grenades at the buses, the assailants broke the windows with rocks and clubs and climbed inside, punching and kicking the activists.

The drivers managed to get away after police officers intervened to stop the homophobes, who went on to vent their anger on migrant workers on a nearby bus.

An IBTimes report on the St. Petersburg attacks: