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Protest against gay games event ban at Sochi Olympics

Campaigners in London call on IOC to intervene to lift Russia's ban on Pride House at 2014 Winter Olympics
Protesters to call for Pride House ban to tbe lifted at Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia

Gay rights campaigners will hold a protest in London over Russia's ban on a Pride House event at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

Activists will picket the Sochi Exhibition in Kensington Gardens tomorrow (9 August), from 10.30am, to show their anger at the Russian Ministry of Justice's refusal to allow a Pride House at the games.

Russian lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender campaigners had planned the venue to be a meeting place for gay athletes and their supporters with events including a sports competition and photo exhibition.

'London 2012 has a LGBT Pride House but Russia won’t allow it at Sochi. This is part of an official crackdown on LGBT communities and visibility in Russia,' said veteran gay rights activist Peter Tatchell.

'It is an attack on freedom of expression and association. We are urging the International Olympic Committee to intervene.

'This ban is contrary to the equality and non-discrimination provisions of the Olympic Charter.'

Russian courts upheld the decision to ban Pride House, with a judge claiming it was 'extremist’ and could provoke ‘social-religious hatred'.

The IOC responded to Gay Star News, but stopped short of criticizing the Russian authorities directly.

In March, an IOC spokesperson told us: ‘The Olympic Charter does not allow for discrimination against those taking part in the games.

‘The IOC is an open organisation and athletes of all orientations will be welcome at the games.’

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