2010-11-22 11:54:00

Participants in the first sanctioned gay picket in St. Petersburg were egged and almost beaten

St. Petersburg, November 22, Interfax - The first ever authorized gay rights rally in Russia was held in St. Petersburg on Saturday, organizer Maria Yefremenkova told Interfax.

The protest lasted about 40 minutes, with demonstrators forced to end it early after clashes with anti-gay protesters broke out, she said.

"There were about a hundred of them, they were insulting us and making intolerant remarks," Yefremenkova said.

"They pelted us with eggs, shouted, broke our banners and tore our rainbow flag," she said.

"After that, we decided to end the picket," she said.

She did however add that she was "very happy and inspired" following the decision by the authorities to allow the demonstration to be held.

Ten people took part in the protest on Bolshaya Moskovskaya Street, according to the police. The venue and time of the event had been agreed upon with the Central District administration.

St. Petersburg police arrested ten anti-gay protesters.

"A group of ten people attempted to obstruct the sanctioned event by using thuggish methods. They were detained and taken to a police station," a police source said.

These people have been held administratively liable for disorderly conduct, he said.