Moscow gay rights demonstrators detained by police, attacked by opponents

Russian police detained gay rights activists, including at least two European lawmakers, as they tried to hold a demonstration in downtown Moscow on Sunday, while conservatives punched the activists and pelted them with eggs. The demonstrators, appearing to number less than 100, tried to present a letter signed by some 40 European lawmakers to the office of Moscow's mayor, appealing the city's ban on a march they wanted to conduct. But police quickly grabbed about a dozen demonstrators and forced them into a bus, including Russian gay rights movement leader Nikolai Alexeyev. Police then hustled away others, including German parliament member Volker Beck, as gay rights opponents threw eggs and shouted "Moscow is not Sodom." The banned march was aimed at marking the 14th anniversary of Russia decriminalizing homosexuality. Despite being taken out of the criminal code, homosexuality is still widely despised.