The informations received in the last hours show that various groups are gatherings in Moscow to attack any participant they could identify. They will be wearing black clothes and surround participants in order to attack them before the police can eventually interfere.
The judge in duty in the Tverskoy district which covers both locations where the two actions are due to take place is Olga Borovkova who sentenced Boris Nemtsov, a leader of the opposition and former vice-Prime Minister to 15 days in jail (the maximum punishment) for taking part into an un-sanctionned public action on December 31.
Modern technology is being used. Pride participants are connecting through Skype to discuss plans and tactics.
Media interest in today's actions is higher than in the previous years with news agencies calling the different organizers all the morning trying to find out where to be best located.
Organizers insist that any participant should not take part if he or she does not understand the security risk. Talking to foreigners, organizers said "Those of you who will be easily identified in the street should not take part as you will be an easy target especially for the skinheads".
Update from the streets:
Alexandrovski garden where the first action is scheduled at 1pm is closed and cordoned by 7 buses of anti-riot police. It is also impossible to get close to the gate. The red square is also closed.
The side streets leading to the City Hall where the second action is scheduled at 1.30pm are also closed and the square can only be accessed from the main street, Tverskaya. Anti-riot police are also on the spot.
One hour before the first action, there are no large groups of skinheads seen at the spots however, young people with mobile phones are at both locations and groups of young people can be seen in side streets around. Most likely, these people are ready to inform others when it will be best time to show up at the place.
A security check is imposed by the police to anyone who want to enter the Manege Square which is on the way to Alexandrovski Garden. The square is closed with barriers. Journalists are blocked on the entrance.
One of the organizers reports that behind the city hall is a bus similar to the one used by the anti-riot police packed with skinheads, ready to go in the street. "I would not be surprised that this is a provocation from the authorities to justify their illegal ban on the basis that the security cannot be guaranteed" said Nikolai Alekseev.
Judith from Yagg.com has just reported via SMS that Anna, one of the co-organisers of Moscow Pride has been arrested. No other arrests have been reported so far.
"All participants of Moscow Pride at Alexandrovski Gardens was been "brutally arrested", Chad Meacham has just reported. The arrest were made as participants arrived at the Gardens. One person, Louis-Geroges Tin was allowed to give an iterview with the world's TV and press. No names of those arrested are not known, apart from Anna.
Dan Choi and Louis-Georges Tin both confirmed as having been arrested.
Report just in that four Russians participats in Pride have been arrested outside Moscow City Hall.
Andy Thayer is confirmed as having been arrested, along with Dan Choi and Louis-Georges Tin, Anna and three other Russian gay activists.
Meanwhile outside City Hall, three of the visiting activists have checked-in that they are OK, but keeping their heads down.
Three of the small group of four (including Norbett from Queer.de) who were at City Hall have now returned safely. Peter Tatchell, the other participant has checked-in that he is OK and not arrested. He is with The Associated Press.
Despite being detained by the police, Dan Choi is "Tweeting" ... "We are here: (gray dot) Right ear ringing small bleeding, 7 in the car including me and Andy Thayer". Later: "I am now in isolation for yelling 'Discriminatzya'!".
Peter Tatchell has just arrived safely back at the apartment.
Louis-Georges Tin has been put in solitary confinement after singing Bizet's "Torredador".
Dan Choi reports that he has been put in isolation for yelling "Discriminatzya!" at the police station.
Tally of those KNOWN to have been arrested: Seven at Alexandrovski Gardens (three foreign, four Russians) and four (all Russians) outside City Hall. There might have been other Russian activists arrested that we don't yet know about.
Dan Choi is tweeting by iphone live from police station. http://twitter.com/#!/ltdanchoi
18 Gay Pride participants have been arrested including 3 foreigners. This is a number confirmed by GayRussia after having talked by phone to most participants.
GayRussia activists have gone to buy food and drinks for those who were arrested. Most are still in police vans and have not been taken to a police station.
Pride participants are being held in three different police stations which we will not name here for security reasons. Nikolai Alekseev and 4 other organizers are trying to obtain the release of a first group in one police station.
Louis-Georges Tin was released. In another police station, Nikolai Alekseev was told that other participants will be released shortly.
The 3 foreigners arrested at Moscow Pride: Louis-Georges Tin, Dan Choi and Andy Thayer were all released
2 Russians have just been released.
All the Russians have now been released.
Pride party is on the way and will start at 23:00.
In 1993, President Boris Yeltsin signed a decree which repealed the law forbidding male homosexuality. Starting from 2006, Russian gay rights activists started to celebrate this date by attempting to organize an annual gay rights march known as Moscow Gay Pride. The first edition was banned and marred with violence. It was reffered as the first Russian Stonewall.
This day was founded in 2004 by French Academic Louis-Georges Tin to mark the anniversary of the declassification of homosexuality from the list of disease by the World Health Organization. Russian LGBT have been celebrating this day every year since 2005 under the leadership of Project GayRussia which was itself founded on May 17, 2005. GayRussia is Russia's coordinator of IDAHO.
Following Moscow in May 2009, Minsk was the second capital to host the Slavic Gay Pride. The March was banned and marred with violence but it did not prevent two dozens of Pride organizers from Moscow, Minsk and St. Petersburg to march over 300 meters waiving a 10meters long rainbow flag. 11 participants including some of the organizers were brutally arrested by police forces.
2009 marked the launch of GayRussia's campaign for the opening of same-sex union of gays and lesbians in Russia. While the Constitutional Court already expressd the opinion that marriage is between a man and a woman, activists believe that the lack of partnership or marriage for gay couples is a strong point to impose legislative changes via a decision of the European Court of Human Rights.
The five-judge panel of the Grand Chamber of the Court rejected the appeal of the Russian Federation in the Moscow Pride Ban case. The decision given on October 21 is final. By repeatedly banning Gay Pride Marches as well as other LGBT themed public action, Russia breached the European Convention on Human Rights.