The Russian authorities have arrested 40 LGBT activists who held peaceful Pride demonstrations in Moscow on Sunday.

Around 30 people staged a protest outside the mayor’s office, demonstrating against the city’s refusal to allow Pride events to take place for the seventh year in a row.

They were confronted by Orthodox Christians chanting “Stop Sodom”, some of whom became violent. Police intervened and dragged the activists away.

Another group, which included leading Russian gay rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev, then gathered at City Hall.

They too were harassed by Orthodox homophobes and were also arrested by police.

There were reports that a smattering of the 50 or so anti-gay protestors were arrested, although all of the LGBT activists were detained.

“It is a pity that Russia has finally turned into a totalitarian state,” Alexeyev later tweeted. “I have been arrested for opening my mouth in front of journalists. I have no words.”

He was released after being charged with holding an “unsanctioned public event”.

Following in the footsteps of St. Petersburg, Moscow city legislators have begun discussions on passing a law that would ban ‘gay propaganda’.

Watch video footage of Sunday’s protests and arrests in Moscow below.

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