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Moscow: Tatchell released from custody

Jessica Geen May 16, 2009
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Peter Tatchell has been released from police custody following his arrest this morning at Slavic Pride in Moscow.

The campaigner had been arrested along with around 20 other activists within five minutes of beginning their protest outside Moscow State University.

A post on his Twitter page states he was freed earlier today but it is not yet clear whether Slavic Pride organiser Nikolai Alekseev is still in custody.

It is thought that only 30 protestors joined the march after threats of violence from right-wing extremists. Some were arrested for doing little more than speaking to reporters.

According to a statement released earlier by the campaigners, violence was used to break up the peaceful march, which had been banned by Moscow authorities.

The statement also called on artists due to perform at tonight’s Eurovision final to boycott the event to “send a message that Russia’s state oppression of human rights is not acceptable.”

When asked his opinion on the attitude of Moscow authorities towards the march yesterday, Eurovision host Graham Norton said: “I feel really bad, but I don’t know very much about this.”

Andrew Lloyd Webber, who composed the UK entry It’s My Time, also professed ignorance, suggesting the march was banned due to traffic disruption.

Related topics: Europe

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