Russia: Two detained by police at Moscow Pride rally

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Moscow police have detained two people for taking part in a pride rally which was denied official permission.

The rally was held today in the city centre, across from the Moscow mayor’s office, where the annual pride events are traditionally held.

Police routinely deny permission for gay pride events and marches, claiming they will lead to violence, in addition to violating the state’s ‘gay propaganda’ law.

Protester Dana Frieder said: “Every year it’s the same joke. We just express our rights, police stop us, and we are released two hours later.

“It’s depressing, but we are not afraid of the police – we fear homophobes, and we hope they will not come here.”

Associated Press are unable to verify whether the detained people have been charged with a crime.

Moscow official Alexei Mayorov said previously: “We informed them that the event could not take place.”

He added that his decision was made “to respect morality in the education of the younger generation”, but also due to “concerns [the march] would provoke clashes between gays and their opponents”.

Five people were arrested and hauled into the back of a van by police at last year’s Pride rally.

It was announced earlier this week that Moscow’s biggest gay club will reopen in a new location, after it was forced to shut its doors following a string of anti-gay attacks.

Gay club Central Station had announced in March it would close its doors for good, after a string of attacks including shootings, the release of a poisonous gasand a coordinated attack by around 100 men.

Russia are set to play Norway today, in a football friendly ahead of the World Cup this summer, but the Norwegian Football Association has banned a planned pro-gay protest.