Moscow is preparing to break up any gay pride marches on May 16th.

According to Russian news agency Ria Novosti, mayor Yury Luzhkov’s press secretary said today the city has once again turned down an application to hold a march next week.

Sergei Tsoi said: “Representatives of the gay movement are threatening to hold their action on May 16th regardless of whether they have permission for it or not, without any consideration for the opinions of the public majority.

“The Moscow government is declaring that there has never been and never will be a gay parade in Moscow.

He said that gay events were “not only destroying the moral foundations of our society but deliberately provoking disorder threatening the lives and security of Muscovites and guests to the capital.”

“First of all, such an action threatens the security of those willing to take part in it. All this is absolutely unacceptable,” Tsoi said.

“This is not only the position of the Moscow government. Representatives of all religious groups, and above all the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as leaders from youth and veteran organisations and multi-cultural societies have issued a strong warning against it,” he added.

Russian gay rights movement leader Nikolai Alexeyev is reportedly planning to hold a gay pride march before the city hosts the Eurovision final.

He has said he expects up to 500 people to join the parade, named Slavic Pride, despite official threats to close down any march.

He said he asked city authorities for permission to hold the march but added that 100 activists were prepared to disobey officials and risk prosecution by marching anyway.

In May 2006, more than 120 people were arrested after campaigners attempted to hold the capital’s first gay rights rally.

Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov has branded gay parades “Satanic” in the past.