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Activists protest Russia’s anti-LGBT laws at Times Square Olympic countdown

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

NEW YORK — Olympic gold medalists stood on a temporary stage in Times Square talking about training and teamwork when the chants rose up from about 50 feet away.

“Homophobia has got to go!” bellowed more than a dozen protesters who unveiled a rainbow banner reading, “Don’t Buy Putin’s Lies.”

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Courtesy: Queer Nation NY
Queer Nation activists protest Russia’s anti-LGBT laws in Times Square on Tuesday.

The U.S. Olympic Committee set up a mini ski slope in the tourist magnet in midtown Manhattan on Tuesday to celebrate 100 days until the Sochi Games. The very public spectacle achieved its goal of attracting the attention of the throngs of passers-by.

It also allowed the group Queer Nation New York to call for a U.S. boycott of the Olympics from an adjoining sidewalk.

“The USOC and the international community should not legitimize Russia’s violations of fundamental human rights by holding the Games in that country,” said Duncan Osborne, a member of Queer Nation, an LGBT rights groups. “Russia has placed itself well outside the bounds of global human rights standards and no international event should be held there.”

A recently enacted Russian law outlaws “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations among minors.” That law has raised fears of whether it could be applied to international athletes and fans – but also broader criticism that the International Olympic Committee should pressure the host country to repeal the law.

The USOC’S official stance is that it disagrees with the law but that a boycott is out of the question. The organization is seeking clarity on what will and won’t be regarded as violations of the IOC rule against using the Olympic stage to make political protests or demonstrations.

Meanwhile, in Sochi, with IOC President Thomas Bach in attendance, President Vladimir Putin promised Monday that gay athletes and guests at the Winter Games will feel at ease.

The International Olympic Committee has also said it received assurances from the Russian government that it will respect the Olympic Charter, which prohibits discrimination of any kind at the games.

The Queer Nation demonstration on Tuesday is the latest in a series of high profile protests launched by the activist group that included an October 28 confrontation with Moscow government officials at a meeting promoting US investment in Russia held at the Princeton Club in Manhattan and protests against Putin supporters conductor Valery Gergiev and soprano Anna Netrebko at Carnegie Hall on October 10 and at the Metropolitan Opera’s Opening Night Gala on September 23.

Associated Press contributed to this report.
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27 more reader comments:

  1. LOVE THIS!

    Posted on Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 8:49pm
  2. Brave!

    Posted on Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 8:52pm
  3. Go for it

    Posted on Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 8:54pm
  4. So much love for this. Why can’t all people be like this? ❤

    Posted on Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 8:55pm
  5. Coz most of them are IGNORANT POS.

    Replied on Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 9:42pm
  6. https://www.facebook.com/islamunbound

    Replied on Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 11:15pm
  7. beautiful

    Posted on Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 9:07pm
  8. <3

    Posted on Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 9:07pm
  9. Yes!!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 9:10pm
  10. Things like this need to happen everyday leading up to the games. Don’t let this issue be overshadowed by all the feel good hype.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 9:34pm
  11. Exactly - It's Easy To Just put Some Make Up On ?

    Replied on Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 3:23am
  12. why not have all the olympians in drag?
    That’d really fuck putin off :P

    Posted on Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 10:01pm
  13. Boycott the winter Olympics and any company or athlete that supports them.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 11:18pm
  14. Awesome :)

    Posted on Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 11:27pm
  15. Courage in the face of such hatred- wow!

    Posted on Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 4:46am
  16. INCREDIBLE

    Posted on Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 5:09am
  17. BOYCOTT

    Posted on Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 6:27am
  18. Free the Arctic imprisoned there, free Pussy Riot, allow gays to be free and to not be persecuted all over Russia. Then maybe they can have the Olympic honor.

    Posted on Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 7:03am
  19. BOYCOTT!!

    Posted on Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 7:13am
  20. Nice..

    Posted on Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 8:37am
  21. Sounds like the IOC is only concerned with Olympics folks (a valid concern) but not particularily with Russians themselves. But the games do not exist in a vacuum. The IOC and the Olympics participants & visitors have the power to set an example – a standard. That’s part of the reason for the Olympics c

    Posted on Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 10:53am
  22. Code, and the non-discrimination policies. If theses only apply to the visitors – while the citizens are abused – then the Olympics have reached a sorry state of standing fir nothing but athletic contests and boasts.

    Posted on Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 10:56am
  23. Anti-Gay Russia sucks BALLS! :D

    Posted on Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 11:01am
  24. Posted on Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 2:39pm
  25. Posted on Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 7:57pm
  26. Posted on Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 9:41pm
  27. i want a gay friend

    Posted on Thursday, October 31, 2013 at 8:38am