/ Updated 
By Reuters

ST PETERSBURG - Russian police detained around 25 gay rights activists who took part in an unsanctioned rally in St. Petersburg on Saturday, according to Reuters witnesses.

A few dozen activists gathered at Palace Square on Saturday afternoon, defying a ban to hold the rally.

Police detain an LGBT activist during an unauthorized rally at the 9th St. Petersburg Pride Parade on Palace Square.Sergey Nikolaev / Sputnik via AP

Organizers had said they would stage one-man protests to demand freedom of association after city authorities turned down their request to hold a parade.

Police detained campaigners who unfurled rainbow flags or held placards, dragging them into a police bus. There were no clashes between police and the activists.

Demonstrators are seen in a police bus after being detained during the LGBT community rally in central St. Petersburg, Russia, August 4, 2018.Sergey Konkov / Reuters

Russia passed a law in 2013 banning the spreading of gay “propaganda”.

Last month, Russian police briefly detained British LGBTQ campaigner Peter Tatchell after he protested near the Kremlin in support of gay rights.