News / Europe

Gay Rights Groups Organize Olympic Rallies

Worldwide Protests Against Russia's Anti-Gay Law On Eve of Olympicsi
X
February 06, 2014 3:40 AM
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. VOA's James Brooke reports from Sochi.
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

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid