LONDON — Hundreds of people protested in London on Saturday against a Russian anti-gay propaganda law that has attracted international condemnation as the world athletics championships kick off in Moscow.
Gathering in the British capital near the residence of Prime Minister David Cameron and the foreign ministry, demonstrators called for the government to push Russia to repeal the laws.
"Putin is the 'Czar of Homophobia'," veteran gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell wrote on his website ahead of the protests.
The ugly truth about Russia's law against gay "propaganda," now the subject of worldwide protests and boycotts, is coming into view. And that includes the role of American companies sponsoring the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, as well that of the International Olympic Committee and the U.S. Olympic Committee, in allowing the heinous law to get passed.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney confirmed on Thursday that President Obama opposes a controversial anti-gay law in Russia, but he said a U.S. boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics isn’t on the table for the administration.
Local authorities have harassed numerous activists and journalists who criticized or expressed concerns about preparations for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. The six-month countdown to the Sochi Games opening ceremony is this week.
"Gay people are facing violence in Russia, hate crimes are on the rise, gays are being tortured, crimes are not being investigated, and victims of crimes do not go to the police because of the fear of being exposed. We are glad that people can learn about it now. This law portrays gays as criminals, because, supposedly, children need protection from everything gay. When people realize that this law creates grounds for violence, they will stop supporting these laws, because no one supports violence."
In 1962 boxer Emile Griffith was in the ring against Benny Paret, when he seemed to explode with anger and pummeled his opponent with such force that, after getting knocked out, Paret died of his injuries. It was eventually revealed that before that some time before the fight Paret had called Griffith a "maricón."