Gay rights rally in St. Petersburg ends in violence; 67 arrested

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Associated Press

Posted on October 12, 2013 at 10:03 AM

Updated Saturday, Oct 12 at 10:30 AM

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — A gay rights rally in St. Petersburg has ended in scuffles after several dozen protesters were confronted by about 200 conservative and religious activists.

The police standing nearby waited until clashes broke out between the two groups before intervening. Russian news agencies report police detained 67 people from both sides.

The scuffles started after anti-gay protesters tore a rainbow flag out of a woman's hands.

The St. Petersburg city government had sanctioned the rally despite the Russian government's June passage of a contentious law outlawing gay "propaganda." Gays in Russia have faced increasing pressure and threats of violence from homophobic vigilantes.

St. Petersburg police could not immediately be reached for comment.

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APPHOTO MOSB118: Riot police detain an anti-gay protester during an authorized gay rights rally in St. Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013. A gay rights rally in St. Petersburg has ended in scuffles after several dozen protesters were confronted by about 200 conservative and religious activists. The police standing nearby waited until clashes broke out between the two groups before intervening. According to Russian news agencies, the police detained 67 people from both sides. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky) (12 Oct 2013)

<<APPHOTO MOSB118 (10/12/13)££

APPHOTO MOSB122: A gay rights activist, left, argues with anti-gay protesters during an authorized gay rights rally in St.Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013. A gay rights rally in St. Petersburg has ended in scuffles after several dozen protesters were confronted by about 200 conservative and religious activists. The police standing nearby waited until clashes broke out between the two groups before intervening. According to Russian news agencies, the police detained 67 people from both sides. (AP Photo / Dmitry Lovetsky) (12 Oct 2013)

<<APPHOTO MOSB122 (10/12/13)££

APPHOTO MOSB116: Gay rights activists, left, argue with anti-gay protesters during an authorized gay rights rally in St. Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013. A gay rights rally in St. Petersburg has ended in scuffles after several dozen protesters were confronted by about 200 conservative and religious activists. The police standing nearby waited until clashes broke out between the two groups before intervening. According to Russian news agencies, the police detained 67 people from both sides. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky) (12 Oct 2013)

<<APPHOTO MOSB116 (10/12/13)££

APPHOTO MOSB119: Riot police detain gay rights activists after a scuffle with anti-gay protesters during an LGBT rally in St. Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013. A gay rights rally in St. Petersburg has ended in scuffles after several dozen protesters were confronted by about 200 conservative and religious activists. The police standing nearby waited until clashes broke out between the two groups before intervening. According to Russian news agencies, the police detained 67 people from both sides. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky) (12 Oct 2013)

<<APPHOTO MOSB119 (10/12/13)££

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