City councillors in Stockholm have invited the Mayor of Moscow to the city’s gay Pride festival in August.

Their tongue-in-cheek invite comes in the wake of the Russian’s ban on similar public displays by LGBT people in his city.

Stockholm city council Green Party leader Yvonne Ruwaida hit upon the idea of showing Mayor Yuri Luzhkov how Pride is celebrated on the other side of the Baltic Sea, and she was backed by councillors from other parties.

“We have invited the mayor to visit our festival and to see how we work with homo, bi and transsexual issues here. It is important to deal with homophobia,” she told AFP.

The Muscovite leader will receive his invite on next week. On Sunday police in the Russian capital beat and detained gay activists who tried to deliver a letter to his office protesting the ban on Moscow Pride for the second year running.

Outspoken human rights activist Peter Tatchell and Right Said Fred singer Richard Fairbrass were among those assaulted.

German MP Volker Beck was also there, and claimed he was also the target of violent homophobes.

Today the president of the lower house of the German parliament, Norbert Lammert, wrote to his Russian counterpart to express concern at Mr Beck’s treatment.

Russian gay activists have vowed to hold a Pride march in 2008 and have asked for Western support for the event.