Activists are fighting back against President Donald Trump and President Vladimir Putin in Finland today (16 July)
The US and Russian presidents will be meeting in Helsinki to discuss future policies.
So Human Rights Campaign had the perfect protest for both of the homophobic leaders.
The US charity projected a message across the wall’s of Finland’s presidential palace.
They wanted to use the Helsinki venue to draw attention to the continued prosecution of LGBTI people in Chechnya.
‘Trump and Putin: Stop the crimes against humanity in Chechnya,’ the message said.
‘Investigate LGBTQ persecution in Chechnya. Bring the perpetrators to justice.
‘The whole world is watching. Silence is deadly.’
The message ends with the hashtag #EyesOnChechnya.’
What happened in Chechnya?
In April 2017, news first broke of the arrests of gay men in the semi-autonomous Russian region of Chechnya. The arrests began in February 2017.
More concentration camps have been exposed. In some cases, it’s thought men were subject to ‘honor’ killings by their families.
Chechnya is led by Ramzan Kadyrov, who denied arrests were taking place. However, he made no secret of his personal belief that homosexuality is wrong.
A spokesman for the government even denied there were gay people in Chechnya, suggesting – ominously – if any such people existed, their families would take care of the matter.
A global fundraising effort raised funds to help local advocates in Russia help smuggle gay men out of Chechnya. Reacting to this, countries such as France are among those who have publicly taken in gay refugees from the country.
One man known to have disappeared is pop singer Zelimkhan Bakaev. The singer is dead, many believe.
Activists: ‘Trump has turned a blind eye…’
The Human Rights Campaign has also criticized Trump for failing to speak out against LGBTI rights in Russia.
‘Trump has unconscionably turned a blind eye to some of the worst anti-LGBTQ atrocities in a generation, including monstrous attacks on gay and bisexual men in Chechnya,’ said Ty Cobb, director of HRC Global.
‘HRC is here in Helsinki to demand Donald Trump end his deafening silence, publicly condemn these Chechen crimes against humanity, and call on Putin to investigate and bring the perpetrators to justice.’