NEW YORK (AP) - Gay activists are protesting outside New York City’s Russian consulate as the winter Olympics start in Sochi, Russia.

About 50 gay rights advocates marched and chanted, “Gay rights are human rights” in front of the consulate on the Upper East Side on Thursday.

They poured a red liquid labeled vampire blood on an Olympic flag.

Protester Ann Northrop said the gesture symbolized how the Olympics are being run on “the blood of the people of Russia.”

The marchers were protesting Russia’s law restricting gay-rights activities.

The law outlaws pro-gay “propaganda” that could be accessible to minors. Critics say it is so vague that it deters almost any public expression of support for gay rights.

The 2014 Winter Olympics started Thursday in Sochi, a resort on the Black Sea.