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Russia and Gay
Activists Headed for Showdown

Russia and Gay
Activists Headed for Showdown

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Gay rights activists in Moscow announced that they have planned pride festivities to coincide with the popular Eurovision Song Contest to be hosted by the city in May, potentially setting the stage for a major showdown between Russia and the international gay community.

Gay rights activists in Moscow announced that they have planned pride festivities to coincide with the popular Eurovision Song Contest to be hosted by the city in May, potentially setting the stage for a major showdown between Russia and the international gay community.

Activists said they would ask contestants to support gay rights by wearing lapel pins onstage on May 16, the final day of competition. The event, in which contestants perform songs submitted by each of the countries in the European Broadcasting Union, is one of the most watched nonsporting events in the world.

"We believe this is the best way for those who support democratic values in Europe and who take part in the show to bring support to human rights campaigners in Russia," said gay activist Nikolai Alekseev, according to Reuters India.

Russian authorities have repeatedly banned gay events in the country, and violent counter-demonstrations have taken place when activists proceeded against the official directives.

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