City authorities in the Russian city of St Petersburg have banned a gay parade from taking place later this month.

Organisers of the Pride event said they will defy the ban and go ahead with a parade down the city’s main street, Nevsky Prospekt on May 26th. Around 2,000 people are expected to take part.

A spokesman for the city law and order committee told Novosti news agency: “The holding of a gay parade was not permitted, because the announced place and time clash with City Day events.”

A range of celebrations are already planned for May 26th, which is also an important date in the Russian Orthodox church, who objected to the parade.

“On behalf of the faithful in the St. Petersburg diocese, I ask you to prevent the holding of this march, considering the acute need for consolidation of Russian citizens, strengthening the family and safeguarding children and youth against the propaganda of sin,” the Metropolitan Vladimir wrote to the Governor of St Petersburg.

Pride organiser Alexandra Polyanskaya, said:

“Notification to conduct the march is given to the administration of St. Petersburg and we don’t see any reasons why Governor Matvienko can deny to us the conduct of this event.”

Moscow’s Pride event on 27th May is widely expected to be banned by the city authorities, though no official decision has been relayed to the organisers.