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Moscow gay rights rally broken up with eight arrests

image captionNikolai Alexeyev (left) clutched a puppet of Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov

Police in the Russian capital Moscow have broken up a small protest by campaigners against Mayor Yuri Luzhkov's stance on gay rights.

At least eight protesters were arrested when police moved in to disperse the rally outside the mayor's office.

Among them was Russia's best-known gay rights campaigner, Nikolai Alexeyev, who accused security agents of abducting him last week.

There was no official comment on his allegations.

He said he had been stopped at a Moscow airport while trying to fly to Switzerland on Wednesday and was held for two days at an unknown address before being released on Saturday.

He said he had been asked to withdraw a case from the European Court of Human Rights, where he complains about Mayor Luzhkov's refusal to allow gay pride marches in the Russian capital.

Tuesday's rally was timed to coincide with the 74th birthday of Mr Luzhkov.

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  • Gay protest broken up in Moscow