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Hundreds stage ‘kiss-in’ outside Russian Consulate in Antwerp

Sunday, August 11, 2013
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ANTWERP, Belgium — More than 400 men and women staged a kiss-in protest outside the Russian Consulate in Antwerp on Friday to demonstrate support for Russia’s LGBT community and protest against that country’s recently approved anti-gay laws.

The event — “To Russia with Love” — was timed to coincide with the final days of World Out Games, being held in Antwerp, a twin city of St. Petersburg, Russia.

Virginia Mayo, AP
Two men take part in a kiss-in in front of the Russian Consulate in Antwerp, Belgium on Friday, Aug. 9, 2013.

Kiss-in participants, which included many openly gay athletes, also called for the Winter 2014 Olympic Games moved out of Sochi to another location, in protest of the anti-gay laws.

The demonstration protested against Russia’s new federal law, recently signed by President Vladimir Putin in June, that bans so-called “propaganda of homosexuality,” imposing fines and up to 15 days in prison for people found guilty of its violation.

Yury Gavirkov, Chair of St. Petersburg Pride, who was arrested for during his own pride event in Russia, also attended the Antwerp kiss-in, as did several Antwerp city officials.

Participants also decorated and tied colored ribbons to the fence of the city’s Russian Consulate.

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