London - Russian police briefly detained veteran British political and gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell on Thursday after he protested in Moscow.
Tatchell, 66, was photographed near the Kremlin in central Moscow, holding a poster with the message: "Putin fails to act against Chechnya torture of gay people."
Tweets on his official Twitter account, with the hashtags #RainbowRussians and #WorldCup2018, said he was taken to Moscow's Tverskaya Police Station but released later Thursday.
"I've spoken to the Consulate Gen. [sic], who says he has been bailed and treated well," tweeted a staff member from the Peter Tatchell Foundation.
Tatchell's protest came just hours before the opening game of the football World Cup finals between Russia and Saudi Arabia in Moscow.
Writing for The Guardian newspaper on Wednesday, Tatchell said he was "in Moscow trying to lie low and evade the Russian security service, the FSB."
He said he was on his sixth visit to Russia to support local LGBT+ campaigners organizing parades and protests.
"On every occasion these were suppressed by the authorities, sometimes violently," he wrote. "I've been arrested twice and once been beaten almost unconscious."
"This time I'm here for the World Cup - but unlike thousands of fans, I won't be cheering on this festival of football," Tatchell wrote.
"LGBT+ people and many other Russians suffer state-sanctioned persecution and far-right violence," he said. "These abuses need to be challenged."