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

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid