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Peter Tatchell on Russia

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With the Sochi 2014 boycott off, activist Peter Tatchell on how the Winter Games can stop Russia’s anti-gay laws

EQUALITY PROTESTS

“A boycott of the Sochi Winter Olympics would punish the athletes. Russian LGBT organisations have also warned that boycotts would see them get the blame. It’s for this reason that I’m organising equality protests within Sochi during the Winter Olympics. While the event is in Russia, LGBT rights will be in the news. The Russian government will squirm with embarrassment.”

RAINBOW POWER

“It will be hard for athletes to make a statement on the podium, as it’s prohibited under the IOC charter; you risk being expelled from the Games and stripped of a medal. But it would be difficult [for the IOC] to take action if hundreds of competitors wave rainbow flags at the opening and closing ceremonies.”

McPRESSURE

“We saw how the boycott of Russian vodka helped create a discussion. Now we need to lobby corporate Olympic sponsors such as McDonald’s, Visa and Coca-Cola into condemning the homophobic legislation and violence in Russia. Business and financial leverage will be the most effective way of putting the Putin regime under pressure.”

THE G20 AGENDA

“David Cameron said he didn’t support a boycott of Sochi. LGBT groups want to know what he’s going to do instead. At the very least we want him to go the G20 summit on 5 September and put Russia’s anti-gay oppression on the agenda. He needs to make a public appeal to Putin to repeal the anti-gay law and prosecute homophobes.”

For more on Tatchell’s human rights campaigns, visit petertatchellfoundation.org

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