Russian police detained some 20 protesters calling for the right to hold a Gay Pride parade in central Moscow on May 27. Counter-protesters, including nationalists and extreme Russian Orthodox believers, punched and kicked the pro-LGBT demonstrators while shouting "death to homosexuals,” according to reports.
Protesters were trying to present a petition asking Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov to lift a ban on the Pride parade. The mayor has called gay marches “satanic” in the past, and last year’s effort to hold a parade also ended in violence.
Among those attacked this year was Richard Fairbrass, an out gay singer with the British pop group Right Said Fred, and Volker Beck, a German Green Party politician and gay rights campaigner, who was hit in the face with eggs.
In response to the violence, Germany’s Green Party Chairwoman Claudia Roth called on German Chancellor Angela Merkel to raise the issue of rights with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G8 summit in June. Some Swedish politicians have invited Mayor Luzhkov to attend Stockholm’s Pride festival on August 4.
Russia decriminalized homosexuality in 1993 but tolerance remains elusive.