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Gay partygoers
attacked outside Moscow club

Gay partygoers
attacked outside Moscow club


About 100 antigay protesters blocked a Moscow nightclub hosting a gay event, chanting, "Russia without gays!"

Gay and lesbian partygoers trying to attend a gay event in Moscow were attacked by far-right Russian nationalists outside a nightclub early Monday morning. The antigay protesters set up a blockade along with a group of Russian Orthodox women, reports Agence France-Presse.

According to the news agency, three young people exiting the club had to hold up their arms to shield themselves as bottles were thrown by a crowd of about 100 people who chanted, "Russia without gays!" About 30 police officers were sent to evacuate the gay partyers via two buses. but they did not try to break up the antigay demonstration.

"It was meant to be the most important event of the year. We were expecting 1,000 people," said Alexei Golusenko, an organizer of the lavish Black and White Party, who was trapped for several hours inside the club. "Friends who were coming to the party called me to say they were being attacked by skinheads and they didn't know what to do."

Homosexuality was considered a crime in Russia until 1993 and was classified as a form of mental illness until 1999. Gay rights activists have expressed concern that attitudes may be slipping back toward increased discrimination.

"We are protesting peacefully against this sin that should not spread, against their orgies, against these sodomites who crawl like cockroaches," Igor Artyumov, head of the Union of All Russians group, told AFP outside the club. Golusenko said at least 250 "skinheads" were outside the club at the height of the picket, but the police told him they were not able to deploy more than 30 officers, unless people were injured, because of preparations for May Day celebrations in central Moscow.

Police formed a human chain to escort the partygoers from the club later Monday. Gay rights activists are planning to hold a gay pride march in Moscow in May even though the city administration has refused to give authorization for the event, following pressure from religious groups. (The Advocate)

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