Ballet dancers staged a Swan Lake protest outside the Russian Embassy in London today (29 January), pleading with Putin to put an end to homophobic laws.
To the tune of gay Russian composer Tchaikovsky’s iconic ‘Song of the Swans’, two male and two female dancers pliéd in protest opposite the Russian headquarters.
Dozens were there, including GSN, for the protest organized by Amnesty International who were demanding an end to the crackdown on human rights in Russia.
The ballet dancers braved the rain and wore the message ‘Proud To Protest’ emblazoned across their costumes. After the protest, a petition with over 10,000 signatures from the British public was handed into the embassy.
Speaking to Gay Star News, Naomi Westland from Amnesty International said: ‘Swan Lake is one of the most famous Russian ballets and ballet is one of Russia’s greatest cultural exports.
‘But with the introduction of a number of laws in Russia in the last couple of years means creativity is being severely limited.’
‘Those laws also restrict the development of civil society and undermine the ability of human rights activists to go about their legitimate business.’
She also highlighted the Russian government have not kept to their promise to end discrimination.
‘After London 2012 the Russian government signed an agreement promising to respect human rights during Sochi and beyond and since then a number of laws have been brought in that do the total opposite,’ she said.
‘NGO’s are being silenced and people are being arrested and put in prison simply because they disagree with the government.’
‘The message is simple and clear. From activists all around the world to world leaders and public figures who are opting to stay away from the SOCHI games, the message to President Putin is to repeal these laws that are restricting the rights to freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.’
The protest comes with just over a week to go until the Winter Olympics officially begin in Sochi on 7 February.