The 2014 Sochi Olympics are off to the expect start: On day one, Russian police have already arrested more than a dozen LGBT protestors who were doing little more than unfurling a banner or singing the Russian national anthem. In America, these acts are called First Amendment freedoms. In Vladimir Putin’s Russia, these acts are called “homosexual propaganda.”
In St. Petersburg, Russian police arrested four LGBT protestors who unfurled a banner that contained language taken directly from the Olympic charter’s ban on discrimination.
“The protesters, who gathered on St. Petersburg’s Vasilyevsky Island, were quickly rounded up by police, according to Natalia Tsymbalova, a local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activist,” CBS New reported late this morning.
The gay rights group All Out told CBS News in an emailed statement that one of the protesters arrested was associated with the organization.
“We just learned that 4 gay rights activists were arrested in St. Petersburg – including All Out’s long-term contact and friend Anastasia Smirnova – for taking photos with a banner referring to Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter ‘Discrimination is incompatible with the Olympic Movement.’”
Also today, Russian police arrested ten other LGBT activists in a separate incident in Moscow’s Red Square. Their crime? Carrying rainbow flags and singing the Russian national anthem.
“Detention for a photo with a banner – isn’t it an amazing way to celebrate the Opening of the Games?,” wrote Anastasia Smirnova, one of those arrested, on her Facebook page. She added, “#CheersToSochi.”
Later, Smirnova updated her status, saying, “we are all out, with charges for participation in an illegal public assembly.”
The court hearings are scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. Everyone is feeling right and strong, and the support that we have is truly heartwarming.
And you know what — I feel so sorry for our police who have to be part of this system…
Now heading to the road police department to start retrieving our car that was towed away.
Here’s “evidence” of the “homosexual propaganda” the Russians are so afraid of:
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