Prominent Russian gay activist Nikolai Alekseev (also spelled Alexeyev) was arrested Wednesday at Moscow's Domodedovo airport, Russian news agency Interfax reported.

Alekseev is the organizer of Moscow's Gay Pride Parade. The annual event, which has been banned by Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, is more a protest event than a parade.

Alekseev was reportedly arrested as he tried to board a Swiss Air Lines flight bound for Geneva and taken to Minsk, Belarus.

“At the moment I am in Minsk. I was squeezed out to here,” he messaged the news agency.

“I was taken outside the city to some small town police station and was questioned there.”

Gay activists have challenged the mayor in the European Court of Human Rights for blocking their annual gay pride event from taking place.

“They demanded that I sign a prepared paper stating that I recall the case about gay pride parades from the European Court due to a reached arrangement,” he said.

Colleagues say they fear the government is turning to intimidation tactics in an effort to quiet the protesters.

“The government is clearly losing the legal fight with gay activists, so they are resorting to violence,” Nikolai Bayev said in a statement. “My guess is that Nikolai is now under colossal psychological pressure. I do not rule out homophobic insults, abuse and even torture.”

Sarah Ludford, the London LibDem MEP and European Parliament member, said the arrest was of “deep concern.”

“State-sponsored homophobia, as shown by bans on gay prides, is common in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe, and I fear that this arrest of a prominent gay rights campaigner may be part of this,” she told UK Gay News.

Officials from the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA-Europe) joined in urging for Alekseev's immediate release.

“We are very concerned about Nikolai Alekseev's safety and demand immediate and unconditional release of the activist by the Russian authorities and immediate end of intimidation and pressuring him to withdraw his ECHR complaints,” the Brussels-based group said in an statement.

Activists are planning a protest against Moscow Mayor Luzhkov on Tuesday. While other Russian cities have taken similar steps to ban pro-gay events, Luzhkov has been outspoken in his objections to gay rights, likened the parade to a “Satanic act” and a “social plague” on par with drug abuse, xenophobia and ethnic feuding.