The attack by neo-fascists and religionists on a gay gathering at a Moscow nightclub has been condemned by the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA).

GALHA has written to the Russian Ambassador in London, Yury Fedotov, to complain about this incident and the increasing persecution of gay people in Russia.

GALHA secretary George Broadhead said: “It is now clear that the combination of the Orthodox Church and the right-wing government is resulting in the targeting and scapegoating of gay people. We have asked the Russian Ambassador in London to convey our protest to the Russian Government, although we have little hope that the situation is going to change in the near future.

“In Russia, gays are becoming the new Jews, the minority it is acceptable to attack and despise. The authorities are lending weight to the onslaught by making inflammatory statements and banning gay events, such as Moscow Gay Pride.

“We are fearful for the safety of gay people in Russia and call on the European Union to put what pressure it can on President Putin to call a halt to this escalating persecution.”

Homophobic protesters hurled eggs and bottles at a gay club in Moscow forcing it to cancel what was billed as the city’s largest gay and lesbian party yesterday.

Police were forced to intervene when at least 100 skinheads, fascists nationalists and elderly Christian fundamentalists clutching Orthodox icons descended on the club.

Organisers had hoped to attract over a thousand people to the “Open Party” at the Renaissance Event Club in the south of Moscow.

The AFP news agency reported that at least one gay clubber was beaten by protesters although the police have not officially reported any injuries.

Nikolai Alexeyev, one of the organisers claimed of Moscow’s gay pride which is due to take place later this month (with or without permission) said the attack was a “mass, coordinated action aimed at intimidating Russian gays and lesbians”.

Igor Artyomov, of the Nationalist RONS party, told AFP that the demonstration was a “peaceful” protest against “sin”.