Moscow police break up clash between Russian gay activists and protesters
Moscow police arrested both gay activists and anti-gay protesters at two attempts to hold gay rights demonstrations in the Russian capital on May 27, according to news reports.
Neither of the demonstrations—one outside city hall, the other outside parliament—were sanctioned by Moscow authorities.
Russian Orthodox Church activists attacked the gay rights demonstrators by punching and throwing water on them, shouting prayers, and trampling on rainbow flags in front of TV cameras.
About 40 people in total were detained, including almost all of the 30 gay rights activists. Among those arrested was prominent Russian gay rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev.
Although homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia in 1993, Pride parades have frequently come under attack by militant anti-gay protesters.
In March, St. Petersburg passed a law against "public action aimed at propagandising sodomy, lesbianism, bisexualism, and transgenderism among minors". The vague wording could be used against any gay demonstrations or events.
Pop star Madonna plans to speak out against the law, which she calls a "ridiculous atrocity", when she takes her tour to Russia this summer.