NEWS
13/10/2013 06:06 BST | Updated 23/01/2014 18:58 GMT

Russian Gay Rights Demonstrators Clash With Religious Activists In St Petersburg (PICTURES)

A gay rights rally in St Petersburg has ended in ugly scuffles after several dozen protesters clashed with 200 religious activists.

More than 60 people, from both sides, were detained by police after they were forced to intervene, Russian news agencies reported.

Conservative activists joined hands for hymns and prayers as gay rights protesters marched past.

A gay rights activist fights for her rainbow flag against an anti-gay protester during a gay pride event in Saint Petersburg

The rally was sanctioned by the city of St Petersburg, despite the controversial law, passed in June, that curtails "gay propaganda"

According to the Associated Press, violence broke out after anti-gay protesters tore a rainbow flag out of a woman's hands.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree banning demonstrations and rallies for two and a half months around the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi next year, thought to be targets for demonstrators.

Photo gallery LGBT Rally in St Petersburg See Gallery