Report: Russian police arrest gay rights activists protesting Olympics
Russian police arrested four gay rights activists in St. Petersburg on Friday, the opening day of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, according to the Associated Press.
The activists reportedly were arrested for attempting to hang a banner quoting the Olympic Charter from the city’s Belinskiy Bridge. Principle 6 of the Charter states that discrimination is incompatible with the Olympic Movement.
Russia’s stance against gay rights — including a law banning “gay propaganda” from minors — has drawn criticism leading up to the games. Russian law also bans any unsanctioned protests.
Leading Russian LGBT movement leader Anastasia Smirnova reportedly was among those arrested.
Human Rights Watch highlighted Smirnova’s work last year and quoted her saying, “Ours is a campaign for equality. It is a campaign that promotes the idea of human dignity for LGBT people in Russia—but it is not a campaign against the country.”