Moscow allows first gay pride rally: organiser

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Moscow has authorised the city's first gay pride parade after seeing similar unsanctioned rallies degenerate into mass arrests and Western condemnation, organisers said Tuesday.

"After a five-year struggle, we have received permission from city hall to organised a gay pride parade on May 28," GayRussia association head Nikolai Alexeyev told AFP.

The Moscow event has been authorised to include 500 people, the organiser said.

Separately, officials in Saint Petersburg said they will allow a similar demonstration to take place in Russia's second city on May 1. The country's imperial capital allowed its first gay rights parade in November.

Earlier attempts to stage gay rights rallies have been brutally suppressed in major Russian cities, with Moscow's former mayor Yury Luzhkov once calling homosexuality "satanic".

Luzhkov was sacked from his post for officially losing the president's trust at the end of last year, with officials having since adopted a more lenient policy toward opposition groups.

© 2011 AFP

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