Police in St. Petersburg, Russia on Saturday arrested 8 gay rights activists for violating a law which forbids the spread of “homosexual propaganda” to minors.

The activists attempted to hold two gay rights rallies.

Three rally organizers were arrested at a park. They were the only participants.

Five of the six participants at the second demonstration, held near the landmark Smolny complex, were arrested, according to reports from the AP and The Moscow Times.

Authorities at first authorized the march but later revoked their permission. Andrei Kibitov, a spokesman for the St. Petersburg governor's office, cited an “enormous” number of requests from residents in explaining the city's decision to reverse its decision.

Activists vowed to defy authorities.

Organizers on Friday predicted a low turnout due to the city's actions. They said they had originally expected 300 people to attend the event.

St. Petersburg's law, which took effect in March, effectively outlaws Gay Pride parades and gay rights demonstrations. Violators face fines ranging from 5,000 to 500,000 rubles ($153 to $153,000.)

(Related: Madonna threatened with fine if she violates St. Petersburg anti-gay law.)