MOSCOW: The organizer of an unauthorized gay pride rally in Moscow was jailed for 10 days on Monday along with two other activists for disobeying police.
The event’s main organizer, Nikolai Alexeyev, was jailed after being detained by police at Saturday’s brief protest outside the Moscow mayor’s office.
“The court hearing was a farce!” he wrote on Twitter.
Two other activists, Yevgeny Gerasimov and Vadim Gruzdev were also sentenced to 10 days in police cells, reported OVD-Info website, which monitors detentions of activists.
On Saturday Alexeyev rode past the mayor’s office on the main Tverskaya Street on a quad bike decked with a rainbow flag and waving an orange smoke flare. The mayor’s office had refused permission for a rally and a court rejected activists’ appeal.
Police detained around a dozen people at the rally after some 30 nationalist counter-demonstrators in camouflage clothing and football fans hurled eggs at the activists and attacked them.
Gays in Russia face regular harassment and requests to hold pride parades have been consistently rejected by authorities in the capital.
In 2013, President Vladimir Putin approved legislation banning the dissemination of “gay propaganda” among minors.
The law has been widely condemned in the West as stoking intolerance.
Human Rights Watch last December sounded the alarm over a rising number of homophobic attacks in Russia, saying that the ban on “gay propaganda” effectively legalized discrimination.
Russia decriminalized homosexuality in 1993, and only stopped classifying it as a mental illness in 1999.