MOSCOW, May 15 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow police will stop any attempts by organizers to hold an unauthorized gay parade due to take place in the Russian capital on May 16, a deputy head of the police public order department said Friday.
Earlier gay parade organizers said they would still go ahead with plans for a "Slavic gay parade," involving not only Russian nationals but guests from Belarus as well. The organizers have also called on foreigners attending the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow to join them.
"Police officers have clear instructions to prevent public order violations, including the holding of an unsanctioned gay parade in Moscow. They will in line with the law take all necessary measures regarding those who attempt to violate public order," Police Maj. Gen. Leonid Vedenov said.
On May 7, the Moscow mayor's press secretary said: "The Moscow government is declaring that there has never been and never will be a gay parade in Moscow!"
Sergei Tsoi said such events are aimed at "not only destroying the moral foundations of our society but deliberately provoking disorder threatening the lives and security of Muscovites and guests to the capital."
The head of the Gay Russia Project, Nikolai Alekseyev, said earlier that several public gay events have been scheduled for May 16.
Over the past three years, the Moscow city authorities have rejected official applications by organizers seeking permission to hold gay parades, on the grounds that the event would interfere with the rights and everyday lives of ordinary Muscovites.
An unsanctioned gay parade took place on Moscow's main Tverskaya Street on June 1, 2008, gathering around 200 people, mostly journalists and curious passers-by. Thirteen people were detained by Moscow police.
Russian gay rights activists have appealed to the European Court of Human Rights five times against decisions by the Russian authorities to ban gay marches in May 2006 and May 2007, and three pickets in 2007.
Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov has branded gay parades "Satanic" and has vowed that they will never be permitted in the capital, while the Russian Orthodox Church and various far-right groups have vowed to halt any attempt to hold a march in support of gay rights in Russia.
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