Moscow: Moscow mayor's office has refused to authorize a gay pride parade planned for May 25 and will thwart any unsanctioned action, an official said. Gay activists filed a request earlier this week to stage a parade in the Russian capital, but Moscow authorities said their application was unlikely to be approved.

They also declined to allow a picket in Moscow's Sokolniki Park."We have sent a notification to the organizers that we have not given a go-ahead to the event," the city's top security official Alexei Mayorov said. Mayorov cited the society's likely "negative attitude" towards the action as a reason for banning the parade.

He also warned gay activists against trying to march without permission."If the organizers still try to hold the event, a certain reaction will follow and the action will be thwarted," Mayorov said. In 2012, the city's highest court upheld a municipal government ban on gay pride parades for next 100 years - passed after Nikolai Alekseyev, a leading gay rights activist, submitted a similar number of requests, filed in advance, the year before.

Homosexuality was only decriminalized in Russia in 1993 and anti-gay sentiment remains strong in the society which includes Russia's political establishment. In 2007, former Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov described attempts to hold a gay parade in the capital as "satanic".

The Russian authorities have never sanctioned a gay pride rally, though LGBT activists have been applying for permits in Moscow since 2006. Last May, St. Petersburg authorities permitted a rally against homophobia, but its participants were attacked by dozens of masked thugs, all of whom evaded arrest.

A ban on spreading "gay propaganda" among minors, currently under review in the Russian legislature, envisages fines of 4,000 to 500,000 rubles (USD 130 to USD 16,500) for individuals and organizations trying to convince minors of the benefits of same-sex relations.

Local legislatures in several Russian regions, including St. Petersburg and Novosibirsk, have already passed a similar law.


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