Moscow police have made mass arrests at a banned gay pride march in the city. Members of an anti-gay protest were also arrested.

The gay pride march, which was set to be the city’s first, had been controversially banned by Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov on moral grounds.

He was quoted as saying on radio that, “I believe that such a parade is inadmissible in our country above all for moral considerations. People should not make public their deviations.”

March organisers chose to ignore the ban and participants set out on Saturday to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier outside the Kremlin to lay a wreath. Neo-Nazis were seen attacking some of the marchers, and Police quickly descended on the pro-gay participants and arrested around 120 people including one of the organisers, Nikolai Alekseyev.

Around 80 people from a nearby counter protest, consisting of members of a far right political group and supporters of the Russian Orthodox Church were also arrested.

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