The White House on Sunday denounced the arrests of 18 gay activists attempting to hold a Gay Pride parade in Moscow on Saturday.

Among the detained were Americans Lt. Dan Choi and Andy Thayer and France's Louis-Georges Tin. Police also arrested 14 opponents.

“We note with concern that in Moscow on Saturday, May 28, a peaceable demonstration of Russians advocating for the rights of gays and lesbians, joined by international supporters, was forcefully disrupted by counter-protesters, and that Russian security forces then detained people from both groups, including American citizens. Some protestors were seriously injured according to media reports,” U.S. State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner said.

“Freedom of assembly is a fundamental right all members of the OSCE committed to, including in the Moscow declaration and as recently as the Astana summit. As nationwide legislative elections approach, constraints on the ability of Russian citizens peacefully to gather and express their views will be closely watched in evaluating the integrity of the electoral process. We call on Russian authorities to work with municipal officials to find better ways to safeguard these fundamental freedoms,” he added.

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.”

Choi is best known for protesting “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” the 1993 law that bars gay and bisexual troops from serving openly.

He was booted from the Army under the policy for acknowledging he's gay on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show.

In a video taken with his cell phone from inside a Russian paddywagon and uploaded to YouTube, Choi said he had suffered a “slight injury to my right ear” during the arrest and was experiencing “massive ringing.”