Gay rights marchers to defy Eurovision ban

Friday 08 May 2009 00:00

A gay parade planned to coincide with the Eurovision Song Contest, hosted by the Russian capital, has been banned by Moscow because it will "destroy morals", a spokesman for the city's Mayor said.

Gay rights activists have staged unsanctioned parades in Moscow over the past few years, but they have faced arrests and beatings.

"The Moscow government is saying: Moscow has never had gay parades and it never will," said Mayor Yuri Luzhkov's spokesman, Sergei Tsoi. "Not only do they destroy morals within our society, but they consciously provoke disorder."

Parade organiser Nikolai Alekseyev said the event would take place. "This is our right and it is guaranteed by the constitution. No official, including the Moscow Mayor, has the right to violate it," said Mr Alekseyev.

But Mr Luzhkov's spokesman said any attempts to hold an unsanctioned gay parade would be "toughly stopped by law enforcement agencies in accordance with the law".

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