An attempt by right-wing groups to stop gay men from meeting in a Moscow park has come undone after one of their patrols was beaten up.
At a gathering of 50 people earlier in the week in the capital, the groups said that Ilyinskiye Vorota Park, near the Kremlin, was being used for cruising by gay men and vowed to “reclaim” the space.
One of the groups was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying that, “We believe that it [homosexuality] is a vice and want to remove all this from this site, which is sacred to Russians.”
However, attempts by right-wingers to patrol the park to scare off gay men went awry according to Interfax.
It reported on Monday that five men patrolling the park told police that they were attacked by eight other men on Saturday night. It is not known if the attackers were gay men fighting back, or if the attack was unrelated.
The city has been in the headlines thanks to the violence that followed an attempted gay Pride protest at the City Hall. The openly homophobic mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, has repeatedly refused to grant a license to hold a gay Pride parade in Moscow.
While Russia is not a member of the European Union, it is a member of the Council of Europe, and a signatory to the European Convention of Human Rights which entrenches the right to peaceful protests and gatherings.