Russian police on Saturday detained more than 40 people at a gay rights rally in downtown Moscow.

Organizers of the Equality March said the event was against the discrimination of all minorities in Russia. The notice of protest filed with the city did not mention gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, reported.

Moscow officials have previously refused to sanction gay rights events, quickly shutting down unauthorized gay pride marches. Anti-gay sentiment in Russia remains high.

At the rally, protesters penned inside a metal fence were pelted with tomatoes. Counter-protesters standing outside the fence unfurled posters with any-gay slurs. In video of the rally taken by the AP, a woman is heard saying, “People like you should all get shot!” according to one translation. (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page.)

Police were “finding out whether (the detained) were part of the rally or the people who tried to thwart it,” Moscow police spokesman Anatoly Lastovetsky told the AP.

In one photograph published by, a man holding a rainbow flag, a symbol of gay pride, is seen being carted away by police.

Other reports suggest the majority of the detained were counter-protesters.