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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gays Say March Will Go Ahead

Gay rights activists on Tuesday vowed to press on with plans to hold a gay pride parade later this month despite a City Hall ban.

About 2,000 gay rights supporters are expected to take part in the May 27 parade, in which participants will walk from Chistiye Prudy down Myasnitskaya Ulitsa to Lubyanskaya Ploshchad, gay rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev said at a news conference.

"It will be a human rights parade in support of homosexuals," Alexeyev said.

Alexeyev said organizers submitted a request to City Hall on Monday for permission to hold the parade.

Nikolai Kulikov, the city's point man on security, said Tuesday that the request had been rejected because a parade would "violate the rights and freedoms" of other citizens, Interfax reported.

Gay activists were overwhelmed by militant Orthodox Christians and ultranationalists throwing smoke bombs at an attempt to rally last May. That gathering was banned by Mayor Yury Luzhkov.

In January, Luzhkov denounced gay rights parades as "satanic" and vowed that he would never allow them.

Alexeyev said Tuesday that he had no information about the City Hall rejection.

The news conference, held at the offices of the human rights organization Moscow Helsinki Group, took a turn for the bizarre when the organization's representative, Nina Tagankina, walked out claiming the organizers had "failed to keep their promise."

She declined to elaborate, but Alexeyev said the presence of nationalist State Duma Deputy Alexei Mitrofanov, a leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, had prompted the walkout.

Alexeyev said activists welcomed the support of Mitrofanov, who said authorities have no legal basis to ban the parade. Mitrofanov also said the faux-lesbian pop duo t.A.T.u. had personally called him and told him that they would participate in the parade.

The news conference ended after a journalist claiming to represent a nationalist magazine called the parade organizers "immoral" and threatened that "rivers of gay blood" would soon flow.