Moscow city police on Tuesday afternoon detained four gay rights activists for staging an unsanctioned rally in the downtown area of the city.

Three of the activists had been lying face-down in a puddle of fake blood, and had attached photographs of victims of real homophobic violence to their backs.

The fourth activist was standing nearby holding a banner in protest against recently introduced laws to ban “homosexual propaganda”.

The city’s police press service told RIA Novosti that the four men had been detained after protesting outside the presidential administration building.

It is illegal in Moscow to protest without permission from the City Hall, if more than one demonstrator is set to take part in a protest at one time.

On Saturday, around 40 gay rights demonstrators were arrested in the Russian city of St Petersburg, after attempting to hold a gay pride rally where they were attacked by over 200 nationalists. 

The upper house of the Russian Parliament voted last Thursday to approve both a bill banning adoption of Russian children by foreign same-sex couples and the nationwide anti-”propaganda” bill banning the promotion of “non-traditional” relationships to minors.

Earlier this month the Duma, or lower parliamentary house, unanimously voted 443-0 to approve the draft law on adoption, as well as related amendments to Russian family law.

The bill, which has since been signed by President Vladimir Putin, bans foreign same-sex couples and unmarried individuals in countries where same-sex marriage is legal from adopting Russian children.