Moscow to allow first gay pride rally

Moscow has authorised the city's first gay pride parade, organisers have said.

The decision was greeted with delight by Nikolai Alexeyeve, head of Moscow Pride. "After a five-year struggle, we have received permission from city hall to organise a gay pride parade on May 28," he said.

The event, which has been authorised to include 500 people, comes after last year's unofficial march, when about 25 people carrying banners marched for about 10 minutes on The Arbat, a well-known street in Moscow.

Last October, the European Court of Human Rights fined the city’s authorities $41,090 in damages and legal costs for banning gay pride marches in Moscow. This ruling, Mr Alexeyeve said at the time, was “a crippling blow to Russian homophobia on all accounts”.

Earlier attempts to stage gay rights rallies have been brutally suppressed in major Russian cities, with Moscow's former mayor Yury Luzhkov once calling homosexuality "satanic".

Luzhkov was sacked from his post for officially losing the president's trust at the end of last year, with officials having since adopted a more lenient policy toward opposition groups.

Date: 26 April 2011


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