Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London has written to Yuri Luzhkov, the Mayor of Moscow to call for an end to the official ban on gay pride marches. He also expresses his solidarity with Peter Tatchell who was violently assaulted and then arrested at yesterday’s march.

Dear Mayor Luzhkov,

“I am writing to convey my deep concern at the reported physical violence against, and arrest of, Peter Tatchell, a Parliamentary candidate for the Green Party in Britain, and other supporters of lesbian and gay rights, during their participation in an event in Moscow seeking to present a petition to you to lift a ban on the Gay Pride parade in Moscow.

“I have known Peter Tatchell for many years and know him to be a person committed exclusively to peaceful political activity.

“I would urge you to use your good offices to seek the lifting of all charges against Mr Tatchell and his fellow demonstrators.

“I would also urge you to resolve the root cause of this protest by lifting the ban on the Gay Pride parade in Moscow in line with the practice of most cities throughout the world.”

Yours sincerely,

Ken Livingstone

Mayor of London

PinkNews.co.uk has so far only received a holding statement from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office saying: “We take seriously the issue of gay rights abroad and any mistreatment of British nationals abroad.”

A Foreign Office official said unless they hear from Peter Tatchell, they can not make formal representations. He dismissed the suggestion from PinkNews.co.uk that the fact the incident was broadcast across all news programmes (including the lead story on Channel Four News) yesterday would be a strong indication that British citizens were involved.

We welcome a statement from either the current Europe Minister, Geoff Hoon or the Foreign Secretary, Margaret Beckett.