(AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel)
MOSCOW—Moscow police have arrested more than 30 people in a pair of attempts by activists to hold unauthorized gay rights demonstrations in the capital.
Opponents of gay rights scuffled with the demonstrators and with police in the Saturday actions. A police spokesman, Maxim Kolosvetov, told Russian news agencies that 18 gay activists and 14 opponents were arrested.
Moscow authorities routinely ban gay rights demonstrations. Although homosexuality was decriminalized in post-Soviet Russia, anti-gay sentiment is high and authorities justify the bans on the grounds of trying to prevent fights.
Activists tried to hold a demonstration at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier outside the Kremlin and later outside the mayor's office.
Via Pink News:
Today, eye witnesses statements and videos posted onto YouTube show that police violently arrested both gay rights campaigners and neo-Nazis. In the videos, police are shown violently wrestlying activists and neo-Nazis to the ground before leading them off in handcuffs to waiting security vans.
Among those detained include the US gay rights activist Dan Choi, famous for chaining himself to the White House in protest at the US military’s former ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ ban on openly gay service personnel.
Others arrested include Andy Thayer and French campaigner Louis-George Tin.
British campaigner Peter Tatchell manage to wrestle himself free from police and escaped their capture. In the past he has been badly beaten and punched by violent police officers.
Dan Choi posted on Twitter that one of his fellow detainees, a neo-Nazi said “we will kick your ass, f*ck you Faggot” to him prior to their arrest. Choi who posted photographs of his time inside a Moscow police station has reported that foreigners will be released by the police, while Russians will be detained overnight.
Choi's arrest comes at the 1:15 mark. It's difficult to see, but that's him.