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Cannes jury stages powerful red carpet protest against Chechnya concentration camps

Cannes jury stages powerful red carpet protest against Chechnya concentration camps

The jury of the Queer Palm award in Cannes showed their support for gay men in Chechnya

A jury at Cannes Film Festival staged a Chechnya protest on the red carpet.

On Sunday (21 May) the jurors for the Queer Palm Award, honoring excellence in queer cinema, attended a screening of Robin Campillo’s 120 Beats Per Minute.

The film, hailed a favorite to take home the prestigious Palm d’Or, focuses on the early days of ACT UP and AIDS activisim in 1990s Paris.

As they posed on the red carpet, the jury – which includes Lidia Terki and Yair Hochner, and is chaired by Travis Mathews – held up signs showing pink triangles.

Held together, they read ‘Silence = Death’, ‘Unified Still!?’, ‘Enough’, ‘No More’, and ‘Chechnya’.

The upside-down pink triangle was first used by the Nazis to identify gay men in concentration camps.

In combination with the ‘Silence = Death’ slogan, the right-side up pink triangle was the central symbol of ACT UP.

On 1 April, Russian newspaper Novoya Gazeta exposed the abuse of gay men in Chechnya and revealed the republic was operating a concentration camp for gay men.

At the time, about 100 men were detained in the camps, and at least three were murdered.

Survivors said they had been tortured, in one case by using a home-made ‘electric chair’, so they would give up the names of other gay men.

As of 25 April, Chechnya was believed to be operating six concentration camps, illegally holding about 200 men.

President Razam Kadyrov said he wants to eliminate the gay community by the beginning of Ramadan, which this year will be 26 May.

His spokesperson Alvi Karimov has claimed gay people ‘simply do not exist’ in the republic.

He said: ‘If there were such people in Chechnya, their relatives would send them somewhere from whence they could not return.

As of yesterday (23 May), prisoners at the largest concentration camp seem to have been moved to an unknown location.

The original camp, believed to be former military barracks in the city of Argun based on survivors’ accounts, was found buried to its roof in construction debris by the Investigative Committee of Russia.