About 40 gay activists were detained by police in Moscow today while trying to demand their right to hold a gay pride parade, according to organizers of the march.
Russian authorities have repeatedly denied gays the right to hold protests.
The activists gathered outside the Moscow city council building, where they were accosted by Orthodox Christians before being detained by the police. The Christians attempted to break up the gathering, throwing water, attacking protesters, and grabbing the demonstrators’ rainbow flags.
Gay rights opponent Dmitry Tsarionov spoke to the crowd in front of a sign that read, “Moscow is not Sodom.”
“I will not allow perverts to bring the wrath of God onto our city,” he said, according to The Associated Press. “I want our children to live in a country where a sin that so awfully distorts human nature is not preached in schools.”
Gay activists tried to hold another protest at city hall, but were again detained, including Moscow Gay Pride founder Nikolai Alexeyev, who led the protests.
“It’s sad that Russia has completely turned into a totalitarian state. I was arrested because I opened my mouth in front of a group of journalists,” tweeted Alexeyev today. He also expressed frustration that more members of the gay community did not come out for the march.
“Once more today I was convinced of the bravery of a couple dozen activists and the complete cowardice of all gay partiers. They are the real pederasts,” read another tweet.
He told Interfaks that he was satisfied with the result of the “gay parade.”
“It again seemed to me that the government acted illegally,” he tweeted. He plans to hold another gay pride parade next year, to mark the 20-year anniversary of the 1993 lifting of the law that made being gay a crime.
Alexeyev was the first person fined for spreading “gay propaganda” to minors, which under a new law in St. Petersburg is a crime. Alexeyev stood outside St. Petersburg’s city hall with a sign that read, “homosexuality is not a perversion.”
The law, enacted in March, effectively bans homosexual publications, protests and events, such as parades. The Russian parliament is considering making the law a national one.