MOSCOW – Riot police violently broke up several gay rights demonstrations inon Saturday, hauling away scores of protesters hours before the Russian capital hosted a major international pop music competition.
City officials had warned they would not tolerate marches or rallies supporting the rights of gays and lesbians. Activists had targeted Moscow, which was holding the finals of the Eurovision song contest on Saturday, to press their claims that Russia officially sanctions homophobia.
Police seized gay rights protesters as well as some members of religious and nationalist groups that staged counter-demonstrations. They also took away gay rights activists for simply talking to reporters, and ripped the bra and shirt off one female protester.