Russian gay activists have attempted to stage two demonstrations in Moscow to demand the right to hold a gay pride parade in the city.

The Washington Post reported that the demonstrators were blocked first by Orthodox Christian opponents and then by police, who detained about 40 people from both sides.

Scuffles broke out at a government building as opponents tried to disrupt the demonstration, decrying homosexuality as a sin.

Police broke up that protest while another group tried to stage a second protest at city hall, but once again police detained participants, including prominent gay rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev.

Alexeyev was the first man arrested in St Petersburg under that city’s new law prohibiting the “promotion” of homosexuality.

Moscow hasn’t implemented its own “gay propaganda” law but has a long history of denying permits for gay pride parades. This is the seventh consecutive year officials had refused permits.

The Orthodox Christians who clashed with the gay rights activists held up signs reading “Moscow is not Sodom”.

“I will not allow perverts to bring the wrath of God onto our city,” The Washington Post reported one member of the groups as saying.

“I want our children to live in a country where a sin that so awfully distorts human nature is not preached in schools.

PICTURED: Gay rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev.

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