Eight gay rights activists were detained for ‘disobedience’ on Sunday after handing out pro-LGBT flyers for National Coming Out Day.
According to The Out Most, plainclothes police officers in Moscow dragged the activists to the ground and into police cars, claiming it was illegal.
Nikolai Baev, one of the detained campaigners, told the Washington Blade: “The rally was peaceful for the first half an hour.”
But then, “policemen started to drag people on the ground to police cars.”
He added: “They were criminal policemen, who watched the rally and waited for the moment to detain the participants.
“This is a common practice in Putin’s country; a lot of police agents watch all rallies in Moscow.”
The activists were taken to a police station and released three hours later at 7pm.
President Vladimir Putin signed law last year banning the promotion of “non-traditional relationships” toward minors, a move that has been criticised as part of a broader crackdown on Russia’s gay community.
The first person to be convicted of breaking the law was attacked and arrested by his own parents at a solo campaign in Kazan.