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

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

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.

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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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