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Church activists protest Moscow gay film fest

France,Immigration/Law/Rights, Fri, 27 Apr 2012 IANS

Moscow, April 27 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Activists from two fundamentalist Russian Orthodox organisations Friday protested before the opening ceremony of an international gay and lesbian film festival in Moscow.


Members of the Union of Orthodox Banner Bearers and the Union of Orthodox Brotherhoods gathered at a Moscow movie theatre Thursday evening and kicked off their protest reciting the prayer "Lord, Save Thy People!", a report said Friday.


In turn, gay rights activists attending the Side-by-Side film festival tried to hand out gay community badges to the protesters, but were rejected.


The protesters claimed festival attendees paid by tycoon and Kremlin rival Boris Berezovsky and said gays were trying to impose an "authoritarian society".


"We were chanting 'Perverts out of Russia!' and they: 'This fascism will not stand'," protest coordinator Yury Ageshchev said Friday.


Police were deployed at the event but did not intervene in the standoff.


The protesters said they would file a complaint with Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, who "allowed all this sodomy".


"We, Orthodox people, will not remain silent," the organiser said.


The protest came as a shock to the foreign guests attending the festival, according to liberal radio station Ekho Moskvy.


Swedish director Ella Lemhagen said the event showed the difficult situation faced by the gay community in Russia.


--IANS/RIA Novosti




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