Americans Lt. Dan Choi and Andy Thayer and France's Louis-Georges Tin were among the 18 arrested Saturday attempting to hold a Gay Pride parade in Moscow, the AP reported.

Maxim Kolosvegtov, a police spokesman, told Russian news agencies that 14 opponents were also arrested.

The administration of Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin last week rejected an application to hold a Gay Pride event in the city, stunning gay rights activists who were led to believe that authorities would allow the event to proceed for the first time in six years.

Officials cited a risk to public order in announcing their decision.

Activists made two attempts to hold demonstrations: one at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier outside the Kremlin and later outside Sobyanin's office.

Nikolai Alexeyev, who helms Moscow Gay Pride, told CNN that an ultra-Orthodox group attacked them as soon as they unfurled their banners and flags.

“We have been asking for the last six years to gather,” Alexeyev said. “We are being deprived of a very simple right that is taken for granted in democratic countries.”

Lt. Choi, who was kicked out of the Army for acknowledging he's gay while protesting “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” posted a video explaining why he had traveled to Moscow.

“I am here in Russia in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who are fighting for the basic right to express their identity,” Choi said. (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page.)

The video was posted on the YouTube channel of Chicago's Gay Liberation Network, which is headed by Thayer.

The third prominent gay rights activist, Tin, is the founder of IDAHO, the annual May 17 event that brings awareness to homophobia and transphobia.

In a video posted at YouTube, Choi says he suffered “a slight injury to my right ear and massive ringing at this moment” from his arrest.

Moscow's former mayor, Yury Luzhkov, routinely banned Gay Pride events and aggressively shut down any unauthorized pro-gay demonstrations, which he called “Satanic acts.”

Gay activists challenged the bans in the European Court of Human Rights. In a decision handed down last year, the court agreed that such bans were illegal.

Sobyanin earlier said his administration would respect the rule of law, raising gay activists' expectations that authorities would finally allow a Gay Pride parade to proceed.