Police in St Petersburg detained four LGBT activists today – before they had even had a chance to open their banner.

An LGBT activist who witnessed the arrests told BuzzFeed from St Petersburg that the protesters had stopped on their way to take some pictures when they were suddenly surrounded by police cars. The arrival of the police was so sudden that activists had no idea how they had even learned of the planned protest.

The banner carried the words of the Olympic Charter against discrimination, which has been showing on Google’s home page all day today: ‘Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.’

They were released late Friday evening and are facing charges of ‘participation in an illegal public assembly,’ Anastasia Smirnova told BuzzFeed by phone.