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Londoners rally at Russian embassy demanding end to torture in Chechnya

Londoners rally at Russian embassy demanding end to torture in Chechnya

Chechnya protest russian embassy -1

The situation in Chechnya is urgent.

That’s why nearly one hundred people flocked to a rally outside of the Russian embassy in London to call for an end to the persecution of gay men and women there.

Since April 2017, authorities in the northern Caucuses have been rounding up people based on their real or perceived sexuality. They’ve tortured them in the most horrifying ways and in some cases, executed these people because of their sexuality.

Every time international attention has focused on Chechnya, the persecution stops for awhile.

But in late December, authorities rounded up 40 people and tortured two of them to death.

Chechnya protest russian embassy -2
Photo: Shannon Power

Volunteers at the Russian LGBTI Network are working around the clock to get the persecutions not only out of Chechnya, but also Russia.

But to do that they need the support of the LGBTI community around the world.

That’s why hundreds of people crowded around the Russian embassy in London to make sure their voices are heard.

LGBTI voices need to be heard

Gay Star News has joined in that chorus and is launching a campaign to raise urgent funds for the Russian LGBTI Network.

‘Gay Star News has long committed itself to improving the lives of LGBTI people around the world, and in the case of Chechnya we’re leading the community’s response and making sure we can make a difference,’ said GSN’s editor-in-chief, Tris Reid-Smith.

‘LGBTI people in Chechnya urgently need our help to save them from imprisonment, torture and murder.

Chechnya russian embassy
Photo: Shannon Power

‘Merely reporting on the issue is not enough. So we are proud to be partnering with the Russian LGBT Network, the organisation helping LGBTI people escape Chechnya. Every dollar, euro and pound our community gives will be used to evacuate the LGBTIs in the most danger.

‘Alongside money, we will raise awareness – so LGBTI campaigners can pressure Chechnya to permanently end this abuse. And we want to give hope to LGBTIs in Chechnya and in other countries facing persecution, that our community loves them and that we stand with them in the time of their greatest need.’

Mikhail Tumasov, Chairperson of the Russian LGBTI Network, told Gay Star News: ‘In 2017, the world learned about what could happen in our industrial age: people are caught, tortured, and killed solely because of their sexual orientation.

‘And where? In one of the most civilized countries: Russia, in a country that is famous for ballet, opera, humanistic literature.

‘And here again a new wave. Again, ordinary people and their families suffer. And this time, the killers are more cynical, for they enjoy their impunity. Putin is silent. So it means he feels fine with these murders.

‘Thank you for coming today and we’re happy to partner with Gay Star News to help raise money to save our Chechen gay brother and sisters and to help those who are helping them as well as they all are under the real threats.’

Join our efforts to make a difference

Gay Star News readers are invited to sign up to our Chechnya mailing list to be among the first to learn about our fundraising and campaigning efforts.

Sign up here:

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See also: 

LGBTI people face torture and death in Chechnya – here’s how you can help them

LGBTI women reportedly sexually assaulted in Chechnya’s anti-gay purge

Jeremy Hunt joins calls to end ‘disturbing’ LGBTI violence in Chechnya