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Moscow police detain two at unsanctioned gay pride demonstration

Saturday, May 31, 2014
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MOSCOW — Police in the Russian capital have detained two protesters who were holding an unsanctioned gay pride demonstration.

Gay rights activists hold rainbow flags during their protest in central Moscow on May 31, 2014. Riot police on May 31 arrested two women as a small group of gay rights activists tried to stage a rally in central Moscow dedicated to Conchita Wurst, the bearded Austrian transvestite who won this year’s Eurovision song contest.

The demonstration took place Saturday across from the Moscow mayor’s office, a traditional site for the gay rights advocates to try to hold rallies.

Moscow authorities routinely deny gay groups’ applications for permission to hold rallies, generally arguing that they could lead to violence by opponents.

Animosity toward gays is widespread in Russia, even though homosexuality was decriminalized two decades ago.

There was no immediate information on whether the two protesters would be charged.

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