Russian police detained about 25 LGBTQ activists Saturday during an unsanctioned rally, Reuters reports.

A few dozen activists demonstrated in St. Petersburg’s Palace Square, defying city officials who had denied their request to hold a parade.

Protesters who waved rainbow flags or pro-LGBTQ banners were dragged into a police bus by authorities, but there was no violence reported between police and activists.

Russian president Vladimir Putin introduced a so-called “gay propaganda” law in 2013 prohibiting the promotion of “nontraditional relationships” to minors. The law is also used to suppress public discussion of LGBTQ rights, displays of Pride symbols, or affection between members of the same sex. Violators of the law face fines of up to 500,000 rubles ($8,000).

While homosexuality in Russia is technically legal, LGBTQ citizens regularly face discrimination, harassment, and violence. A 2017 Pew Research survey found that 72% of Russians believe homosexuality is morally unacceptable.

Police in Moscow detained British activist Peter Tatchell in June during the 2018 World Cup after he protested the Russian government’s lack of action on behalf of Chechnya’s queer community. 

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