Yerevan Mayor Gagik Beglarian has reportedly ordered law-enforcement personnel to prevent homosexuals and transvestites from gathering in parks near his office, Russian and Armenian media outlets are reporting.
Beglarian allegedly issued the order in mid-February. The mayor's office, however, has declined to comment, the Interfax news agency reported on February 19, citing Armenian media sources.
Authorities in Armenia, as well as its South Caucasus neighbors of Azerbaijan and Georgia, have shown little tolerance for sexual minorities; the Yerevan mayor has long been on a campaign to curtail male prostitution, the Graparak newspaper reported.
One conservative group, the National Neoconservative Movement, has called for public support for the campaign "to root out the horrible phenomenon, [which is] artificially cultivated in Armenia," the Kavkazsky Uzel news website reported on February 21.