The organiser of a controversial gay event in Moscow has branded city officials liars, while Orthodox Christians have been accused of planning violence against gay people.
Official notification of the proposed march in the city centre was delivered on Monday morning to the office of Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov.
Nicolas Alexeyev, the organiser of Moscow Pride, said: “The representative of Moscow City government Nikolai Kulikov, who told the media that he had met with the Pride organisers and handed them the official ban, is lying.
“It is Mr. Kulikov who is misleading the public and the media.”
Today’s Kommersant newspaper reports that representatives from Orthodox Christian organisations had said that they would “spill gay blood” if the Pride parade was permitted.
Pride is due to take place on May 27th. The Mayor of Moscow previously said he would never allow LGBT people to march in his city, and called gays “Satanic.”
Mayor Luzhkov banned the Moscow Pride event planned for May last year. Gay rights activist defied the ban, despite large numbers of vigilantes, tear gas and riot police.
27th May marks the 14th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Russia and the march is planned to start close to Moscow’s main Post Office at 3pm.
President Putin is being asked to permit a small-scale event between 1 and 2pm in Alexandrovsky Garden next to Kremlin Walls.
Mr Alexeyev said he expected an answer from the President early next week.
Last week State Duma Deputy Alexei Mitrofanov said the event should be allowed to go ahead.
Mr Mitrofanov, who represents the Liberal Democratic party, said the ban leads to very negative consequences for Russia.
To show his support he attended yesterday’s press conference where Pride organisers will gave details of the event. He said if the march was allowed as a human rights protest he would attend.
It has emerged that pseudo-lesbian pop group Tatu are to take part.
German Green Party MP Volker Beck, who was injured at last year’s Moscow Pride, praised Mr Mitrofanov’s stand.
Mr Beck, who is chief whip for the Greens in the German Parliament, is openly gay.
“Russia should accept its Human Rights obligations,” he said today in a statement from Germany.
“This means that everybody has the right to assembly peacefully even if the government or a majority in population is opposing the issue. This is what democracy is all about.
“Everybody who is supporting such a human rights perspective and who is defending the rights of gay people, ethnic minorities and foreigner rights is welcome.”