On May 23, the annual Side by Side LGBT Film Festival opened in Moscow with multiple international diplomats in attendance. Within hours of the opening, the organization wrote on Facebook that a group including far-right “activists” from the SERB and NOD movements had attacked attendees as they entered the festival’s first venue. According to the festival’s organizers, “people were holding posters, displaying neo-Nazi and extremist symbols, and behaving aggressively: they tried to block the entrance to the film club and insulted attendees. One poured ammonia onto an employee of the Canadian embassy.” The message noted that the action had not been approved in advance by local authorities, as Russian law requires for all public events.

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