Several dozen protesters gathered in front of Russia's parliament building to protest an anti-gay propaganda law on Tuesday, but the gathering quickly led to scuffles.
The protesters held banners with slogans such as 'Homophobia is the Enemy of the Working Class' and 'Together Against Homophobia, Violence', and several kissed.
The law, if approved, would among other things, make homosexual kissing in public an offence punishable by a fine. It would also outlaw providing minors with homosexual propaganda and ban public events that promote gay rights.
Gay activist Igor Yasin said that the law was anti-democratic.
"We came here today to protest against the gay propaganda law which is in fact anti-democratic and is destructive for the whole society, not only for gays and lesbians," Yasin said.
While Russian parliament decided to hold off the first reading of the law on Tuesday, anti-gay activists attempted to break up the so-called 'kissing protest' outside the parliament building.
An anti-gay protester who preferred not to disclose his name said that he was worried about the future of his children and of the poor moral standards gay movement spreads.
"I have children, grandchildren. I don't want them to be offered various sinful habits and instincts as behavioural standards," the anti-gay activist said.
Yasin, however, gay activists insisted that law was making life more dangerous for homosexuals in Russia.
"Recently, because of this obscure anti-gay propaganda imposed by the government, the level of violence and attacks on gays and lesbians has gone up. Sometimes people are even killed but nobody speaks of that. Those crimes are not investigated," Igor Yasin said.
If the law passes the first reading in Duma, it then will have two other readings and go to the Senate. It will then have to be signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin before it takes effect.
Russia's second-largest city, St. Petersburg, already has a similar law in place that offers fines for people who promote "public actions aimed at propaganda of sodomy, lesbianism, bisexuality, and transgenderism among minors."