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© RIA Novosti. Ramil Sitdikov

Moscow authorities block LGBT rally bid

by Anna Arutunyan at 17/05/2013 11:50

Moscow City Hall has refused a request by LGBT activists to hold a “Rainbow Rally” in Moscow’s Gorky Park on May 25, citing last day of school festivities scheduled for the same day.

Earlier, an announcement on Rainbow Rally’s Facebook page said that a rally with about 200 people would be held in support of gay rights on a square next to the Krymsky Bridge in Gorky Park. But on Friday, a City Hall official said the rally would not be held.

“This event will not take place because all squares will be occupied May 24-25 for last day of school festivities,” RIA Novosti quoted Alexei Mayorov, head of City Hall’s regional security department, as saying.

Earlier this month, Moscow introduced several so-called Hyde Park zones in Gorky Park and Sokolniki Park, modeled on the Hyde Park Speaker’s Corner in London, as places where various groups could express their views. Unlike rallies held in the city, where organizers have to obtain permission from City Hall, those who want to assemble in “Hyde Park zones” need only to fill out an application on the park’s site.

According to Mayorov, end of school festivities will mean that most “Hyde Park” events will not be approved on May 25-26.

Earlier Moscow authorities blocked a bid by LGBT activists to hold a march and a rally in central Moscow on May 25, while Gorky Park refused to approve a bid to hold a rally on the territory on May 26.

Gay activists have tried to hold authorized rallies in the past, but Moscow authorities have never approved them. Unauthorized events will be dispersed by police, City Hall said.

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