The ongoing dispute between gay activists in Russia and the Moscow city authorities will now move to the European Court of Human Rights.

As reported on PinkNews.co.uk, in May 2006 the city’s mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, refused to issue a permit for the Pride march.

Gay activists pressed on with Moscow Pride on 27th May, despite the ban, police arrests, and violence from neo-fascists, right-wing nationalists and Orthodox Christian fundamentalists.

On Tuesday, Pride organisers lost their appeal at Moscow City Court against the ruling of a lower court that upheld the city’s ban on the event.

“An application to the European Court of Human Rights is now ready and is currently being assessed by legal experts,” said Nikolay Alekseyev, one of the Pride organisers.

Over 120 people including a German MP were arrested during the chaotic scenes at Moscow Pride as gay campaigners from all over the world converged in the Russian capital.

They were met by religious and nationalist protesters chanting anti-gay slogans and 1000 riot police aiming to stop demonstrations in Red Square.

The arrests were made after a group of activists, including Mr Alexeyev, attempted to lay flowers at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a war memorial, equating the struggle for gay rights with fighting fascism.

Eyewitnesses said gay activists were beaten by protesters.

Sebastien Maria told Reuters, “What happened today unfortunately is representative of the non-respect for human rights in Russia. You can’t express your point of view, and you are not protected from extremists.”

Volker Beck, a Green member of the German parliament, was attacked by 20 religious protesters and punched in the face whilst he was giving a television interview.

The European Court of Human Rights, which sits in Strasbourg, is not an EU institution, but rather is a creation of the Council of Europe. Russia became a member of the Council in 1996.

The Court enforces the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

It considers complaints of human rights violations committed by states who are members of the European Council.

Cases can be brought to the Court by both member countries and citizens of those nations.