News / Europe

Gay Rights Groups Organize Olympic Rallies

James Brooke
Russia’s Winter Olympics in Sochi have been criticized for corruption and the terror threat to the Games, but Russia is also a target for its treatment of gays. As the opening ceremonies draw near, demonstrators around the world are protesting Russia's tough stance on gays.

Two days before the Friday opening of the Sochi Winter Olympics, people in 20 international cities demanded that Olympic sponsors condemn a Russian anti-gay law. Protesters objected to a law that pushes virtually any public discussion of homosexuality underground.

WATCH: Related video from VOA
UN Chief Condemns Anti-gay Lawsi
X
February 06, 2014 10:10 AM
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned anti-gay discrimination and called on warring parties worldwide to observe an "Olympic truce," the day before the winter Olympic Games officially open in Sochi, Russia.

From Paris to London to Rio de Janeiro, protesters asked 10 global corporations to condemn Russia’s law.

So far, AT&T is the only Olympic sponsor to do so.

Last week, Human Rights Watch was one of 40 international groups that asked companies to condemn the law.

The U.S.-based human rights group fueled anger Tuesday by posting online a video of violence against gays in Russia. By protest time, nearly 1 million people worldwide had watched it on YouTube.

  • Russian speed skaters train at the Adler Arena Skating Center ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Feb. 5, 2014.
  • Russia's Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov practice their routine at the figure stating practice rink ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 5, 2014.
  • A woman poses with the Olympic rings in Olympic Park as preparations continue for the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 5, 2014.
  • Hidenari Kanayama of Japan completes a training run in the men's luge singles ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 4, 2014.
  • Canadian short track speed skaters and brothers Charles and Francois Hamelin watch a replay of their training on an iPad at the Iceberg Skating Palace, Feb. 4, 2014.
  • A Russian security forces K-9 officer patrols with his dog near the finish area of the Alpine ski course ahead of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Feb. 4, 2014.
  • Rosa village is seen from a gondola prior to the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 4, 2014.
  • Olympic workers ski through a tunnel on the way to the Alpine ski course ahead of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Feb. 4, 2014.
  • A competitor takes a jump past a giant matryoshka doll during a Snowboard Slopestyle training session at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, prior to the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 4, 2014.
  • U.S. snowboarder Ryan Stassel takes air off a jump during slopestyle snowboard training at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Feb. 4, 2014.
  • Speed skaters from the Netherlands train at the Adler Arena Skating Center ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Feb. 4, 2014.
  • Players from the Swedish women's national ice hockey team take part in a training session at the Shayba Arena in preparation for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Feb. 4, 2014.
  • An Olympic worker overlooks the Caucasus Mountains from the Alpine ski course ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 4, 2014.

Tanya Cooper, a Russian researcher for Human Rights Watch, said Russia’s one-year-old law gives a green light to gay bashing.

She said in the video narration, “A vigilante group, Occupy Pedophilia, essentially uses the pretext of protecting children, fighting pedophilia, to harass and attack gay people. They invite them for a fake date and they proceed to berate them for their homosexuality, and in many cases, to abuse them physically. They film all these proceedings and then post them on social networks, on YouTube to humiliate them even further.”

Human Rights Watch says Occupy Pedophilia’s web page hosts hundreds of videos of attacks on gays in more than 30 Russian cities.

President Vladimir Putin has rejected criticism of the gay propaganda law. During a recent visit to Sochi, he said Russia does “not ban anyone or anything,” but added, “That's why you can feel free, relaxed - but leave children in peace, please.”

The Obama administration is not sending any high-ranking officials to Sochi.

Instead, the American delegation includes three openly gay athletes.

American Hudson Taylor directs Athlete Ally, a group that aims to end homophobia in sports. He said he came to Sochi to build bridges.

“There has never been a successful social justice movement for a minority group without the support of the majority. So I think the sense is that there could be other prominent Russian athletes, celebrities, politicians who could show support for the gay community in Russia, that that would go a long way,” said Taylor.

Russian officials show little interest in debate in Sochi. They have banished all social protest to a remote city park - 13 kilometers from the Olympic Park.

Error rendering storify.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Svetlana from: Russia
February 05, 2014 3:16 PM
finally the world can see the Communist decay and corruption... The Socialist Utopia...!!! take a good look at it... and don't forget to thank God that you can go away from this muck... and go home. Just don't drink the water, do no take a shower, and take shallow breaths... the air is as toxic as hell...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festivali
X
April 24, 2015 4:09 AM
Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Keeping Washington Airspace Safe Is Tall Order

Being the home of all three branches of the U.S. federal government makes Washington, D.C. the prime target for those who want to make their messages and ideas heard. Unfortunately, many of them choose to deliver them in unorthodox ways, including from the air, as a recent incident clearly showed involving a gyrocopter landing on the Capitol’s West Lawn. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.

VOA Blogs