Gay rights rally in Russia ends in violence

Gay rights activists are confronted by anti-gay protesters during an authorized gay rights rally in St. Petersburg, Russia on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013. The rally ended in scuffles after several dozen demonstrators were confronted by about 200 conservative and religious protesters. The city government had sanctioned the rally despite the Russian government's June passage of a contentious law outlawing gay "propaganda." AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia 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.

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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