Antigay Orthodox Christians and state police violently interrupted an unsanctioned rally for LGBT rights in Moscow on Saturday, reports the Guardian. LGBT activists were gathering to celebrate Pride, commemorate the 30 year anniversary of Russia's decriminalizing of homosexuality, and simultaneously protest broad national legislation that imposes steep fines for disseminating "homosexual propoganda" to minors, and which passed the State Duma in January.
More than 30 LGBT activists and were arrested moments after each unfurled a different banner condemning the Kremlin-backed antigay legislation, reports RIA Novosti. All of those arrested were processed and released by Sunday morning, according to Novosti.
Police officers told LGBT demonstrators that their rally was not sanctioned, and therefore they were disturbing passers-by. But Moscow officials had rejected applications to sanction the pride rally for the eighth year in a row, reports the Guardian. The same day that the administration rejected the application in March, an LGBT leader in Syktyvkar was severely beaten.
Saturday, Police ripped rainbow flags and banners from demonstrator's hands and on several instances failed to protect the LGBT demonstrators from Orthodox protestors's fists, as demonstrated in the video below, from YouTube user GraniRu, part of the LGBT-friendly newspaper Moscow Times.