Russia: Police release gay pride organisers held for unsanctioned Moscow rally

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Russian authorities have released gay rights activists detained on Saturday for holding an unsanctioned gay pride rally in Moscow.

On Sunday, the Interior Department confirmed that the participants had been released, reports UPI. Around 30 activists from both pro and anti-LGBT factions were arrested at Moscow Pride on Saturday.

Since 2006, gay rights activists have requested permits to hold official gay pride parades, but have been turned down.

Gay Russian activist Nikolai Alexeyev and fellow organisers of Moscow Pride were arrested while meeting outside of the office of the Mayor of Moscow yesterday.

Mr Alexeyev, who has been arrested each year he attempts to organise gay pride events in the city, posted a photo on Twitter from a police van following his arrest.

Some gay rights advocates were held in the State Duma building, after they attempted to stage solitary, consecutive pickets. Such pickets do not require the state permit.

“Administrative violation reports were compiled for 39 detainees: protocols for the breach of the established rules of holding gatherings and meetings were drawn up for 29 detainees and protocols for petty hooliganism were completed for the other ten,” the Interior Department said.

Earlier this week, Thorbjorn Jagland, secretary-general of the Council of Europe asserted that Russia must allow demonstrations by LGBT people, and that it should protect the rights of citizens wishing to hold public rallies.

Over recent months, there has been an increase in violence against LGBT people, a crack down on some gay pride marches, and laws are being considered to make gay “propaganda” illegal.