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The LGBT flag flying high Reuters

A number of gay rights activists have been arrested after they clashed with the police at an unauthorised pride march in Cuba's capital, Havana.

On Saturday, more than 100 demonstrators took to the streets of the capital despite the unexpected cancellation of the 12th annual march by the communist authorities, the BBC reported.

After setting out from Havana's Paseo del Prado, one of the city's main boulevards, the marchers came up against a large number of police and state security forces.

Some of the participants said they were subjected to violence after being stopped by plainclothes security officers.

Marching in Cuba without permission can be met with a strong police response.

Havana's annual gay pride march is an important event for the island's gay and lesbian community, which spent decades in the shadows and under persecution, said the BBC.

Cuba holds events around this time every year ahead of the International Day Against Homophobia on May 17.

Discrimination due to someone's sex or gender is illegal in Cuba.