IOC Defends Arrests of Gay Activists in Russia

Image via Passport.

Image via Passport.

Four LGBT activists, including one pregnant woman, were arrested while trying to display a banner reading “Discrimination is incompatible with the Olympic Movement. Principle 6. Olympic Charter” in St. Petersburg, Russia on while Sochi’s opening ceremonies were taking place. “The Russian government has claimed that there is no discrimination against LGBT people in their country but their actions today are undeniable proof that their ‘anti-propaganda’ law is being applied widely to restrict the basic rights of LGBT people and our allies,” said Ty Cobb, director of HRC’s Global Engagement program.  “Instead of allowing peaceful dissent while the world is watching, Russia is doubling down on its commitment to criminalize supporters of equality.”

The IOC defended the arrests. “We understand that the protesters were quickly released,” Emmanuelle Moreau, the IOC’s head of media relations, said in an email to BuzzFeed. “As in many countries in the world, in Russia, you need permission before staging a protest. We understand this was the reason that they were temporarily detained.” The speed of the police response in both cases made organizers believe police may have been tapping their phones to monitor their movements. Russian police arrested at least 61 protestors nationwide on Friday — some protesting for causes other than LGBT rights.”

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