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Moscow gay pride rallies end in violence

Dozens of people were detained by police in Moscow yesterday after gay rights activists and their opponents clashed at the sixth attempt in a row to hold a gay pride parade. Gay rights activists had hoped that Moscow's new mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, would finally allow parades after years of being refused permission by the authorities.

Gay rights activists who gathered near the Kremlin were met by far-right groups who attacked them as soon as they raised their rainbow flags and posters. The police swiftly intervened. A separate meeting of gay activists near Moscow's government building was broken up by police after about 20 minutes. About 40 people were detained.

Homosexuality was decriminalised in Russia in 1993, although much of Moscow's gay scene is still underground because prejudice against gays runs deep.

In October, the European Court of Human Rights fined Russia for banning homosexual parades in Moscow.

Sunday Independent