Moscow gays hold first unimpeded rights protest

Published: October 1, 2010

MOSCOW (Reuters) – A small group of activists held the first gay rights demonstration in Moscow without hindrance from city authorities on Friday, saying there had been a change of policy since the dismissal of Mayor Yuri Luzhkov.

Luzhkov, an opponent of gay rights, was sacked after 18 years in office on Tuesday by President Dmitry Medvedev.

About 10 activists took part in the rally, which they hailed as a victory for gay rights after years of confrontation, mostly over annual efforts to hold a gay pride parade in May like those elsewhere in Europe.

"As soon as Luzhkov left, the policy changed. I am sure the new mayor will finally allow us to rally," Nikolai Alexeyev, Russia’s leading gay rights activist and head of the Moscow Gay Pride organization, told reporters

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