Moscow refuses permit for LGBT rally

May 17, 2013 at 2:20 PM

MOSCOW, May 17 (UPI) -- Officials in Moscow refused to issue a permit for a gay rights rally in Gorky Park, saying the park is already fully booked for "last day of school" activities.

Organizers of the planned "Rainbow Rally" said they expected about 200 people to gather in the park May 25 to support equal treatment for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals, but Alexei Mayorov, a city security official, said Friday the rally will not be permitted, RIA Novosti reported.

"This event will not take place because all squares will be occupied May 24-25 for last day of school festivities," Mayorov said.

Moscow authorities had previously refused to allow LGBT activists to conduct a march and a rally in downtown Moscow on May 25. City officials said if gay rights activists hold unauthorized rallies, police will break them up, The Moscow News reported.

The report came the same day an estimated 30 people were injured when counterdemonstrators, apparently led by clergymen, breached police barricades and attacked gay rights activists holding a rally in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia.

The rally -- which was sanctioned by Tbilisi authorities -- was held to observe the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, RIA Novosti said.

A poll released Friday indicated more than 70 percent of Russians oppose homosexuality, with 35 percent saying it is a disease and 43 percent saying it is a bad habit. The poll, conducted by the independent Levada Center, found 12 percent regard homosexuality as normal.

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