A Pride activist is arrested by police in Moscow.

The US and France have expressed their unhappiness at the recent arrest of LGBT activists who tried to hold a Pride parade in Moscow.

Around 18 Pride participants were arrested on Saturday, including international activists such as Dan Choi and Peter Tatchell.

The parade had been banned by city authorities; the sixth time in as many years.

The US State Department issued a statement saying that it noted the arrests “with concern” and described the event as “a peaceable demonstration of Russians advocating for the rights of gays and lesbians”.

Russians should be able to express themselves freely

State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner commented: “Freedom of assembly is a fundamental right all members of the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe) committed to, including in the Moscow declaration and as recently as the Astana summit.”

“We call on Russian authorities to work with municipal officials to find better ways to safeguard these fundamental freedoms,” Toner said.

The French Foreign Ministry also called on Russia to ensure that its citizens were able to express themselves freely.

“After the violence which broke out on May 28 during Moscow’s gay parade, France reminds Russia of its adherence to the right to the freedom of speech and peaceful assembly,” the ministry said in a statement.

In October last year, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Russia had violated the right to freedom of assembly of LGBT people by repeatedly banning Pride events.

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