Marchers in tomorrow’s Moscow Pride fear they may be targeted by neo-Nazi thugs.
The march was banned by city authorities on the grounds of potential public disorder but a small group of gay rights activists say they will take to the streets anyway.
They plan to march from the Kremlin to City Hall, although police are expected to swiftly break up the parade.
Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who was badly injured by neo-Nazis several years ago in Moscow, said: “There is a big danger of violent attacks by neo-Nazis, who have threatened to bash the marchers and who have previously beaten other protesters to death.
“The Moscow police are expected to arrest all the gay Pride participants, but probably not before allowing the neo-Nazis to attack us, as they did in past years,” he said.
Today, Moscow police confirmed they would break up any “unlawful actions”.
City authorities said last month that the march could not go ahead because of a “risk of public disorder”.
But Pride leader Nikolai Alekseev said that any disorder would be blamed on police and the mayor, Sergei Sobyanin.
Gay rights activists are furious that the march has been banned for the sixth year, as the European Court of Human Rights ruled last October that bans on Moscow Pride contravene international human rights laws.