Urge Olympic sponsors to speak out against Russian homophobia
Wednesday 5 February, 6-7pm
Downing Street, Whitehall, London SW1A 2AA.
Nearest tubes Charing Cross & Westminster.
WEAR RED FOR LOVE!
Organised by All Out. Supported by the Peter Tatchell Foundation and others.
Sign up on the facebook page: http://on.fb.me/1ehvMjJ
This is part of a Global Speak Out that is taking place on 5 February in cities around the world.
Urge the UK and Russian governments, and the International Olympic Committee, to uphold Principle 6 (P6) of the Olympic Charter, which prohibits discrimination.
Call on Olympic corporate sponsors – such as Coca Cola, McDonalds and Visa – to speak out against Russia’s anti-gay law and homophobic violence.
At 6.30pm, a delegation will deliver to the nearby McDonald’s (45-47 Whitehall SW1A 2BX) the 100,000+ All Out petition calling on Olympic sponsors to speak out.
You can sign this petition here:
Download posters for the protest:
“Olympic sponsors are failing to live up to their commitments”, said Andre Banks, Executive Director and co-founder of All Out. “The IOC has confirmed that Principle 6 includes discrimination based on sexual orientation. Athletes all over the world are speaking out. We’ve just heard that the Russian government is considering amendments to the anti-gay laws. But sponsors continue to look the other way while gays and lesbians in Russia suffer.”
“The Global Speak Out means a lot to us here in St. Petersburg, Russia”, said Dmitry one of the local organisers in St. Petersburg. “Together with thousands of people around the world we are going to show Russian authorities they can’t attack lesbian, gay, bi or trans (LGBT) Russians with impunity, without risking their international reputation and the success of our Olympics. We will not be silent any more! We will fight back! For our rights! For our human rights!”
Peter Tatchell, Director of the human rights organisation, the Peter Tatchell Foundation, added:
“None of the corporate sponsors have explicitly condemned the Russian anti-gay law or homophobic violence in Russia. They’ve made only general, vague equality statements. This isn’t good enough.
“I would have expected them to make a simple statement such as: ‘We are deeply concerned about new Russian legislation that discriminates against the LGBT community. We deplore the homophobic violence that is taking place in Russia.’ It is shameful and cowardly that they feel unable to say this.
“The intensely homophobic atmosphere in Russia, orchestrated by President Putin’s government, means it would be very unlikely for an openly gay athlete to be selected for the Russian Olympic squad. The Kremlin has banned a Pride House – a social meeting space for gay athletes and spectators, like the one at the London 2012 Olympics.
“These are clear breaches of the anti-discrimination Principle Six of the Olympic Charter. Yet the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has said and done nothing. It is allowing the Russian government to ban a Pride House and has not required the Russians to give a written undertaking that they will not discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) athletes in the selection of Russia’s team for the Olympics.
“The IOC has hinted that any athlete who expresses support for LGBT equality during the games could face disciplinary action, possibly including expulsion and being stripped of any medals won.
“The IOC’s top priority is not Olympic values or human rights. It is driven by commercial interests. The Olympics are big business. The host nation and corporate sponsors are king. Nothing must be allowed to detract from financial success and ‘good news’ PR – certainly not the plight of Russia’s persecuted LGBTs.
“The 1936 Berlin Olympics took place in an atmosphere of anti-Semitic hatred incited by the Nazi government. The 2014 Sochi Olympics echo that hatred, only this time the victims of demonisation are LGBT people. There are no Nuremburg laws or concentration camps but the hateful anti-gay propaganda is similar to the anti-Semitism stirred by the Nazis in the early 1930s.
“How can there be normal sporting relations with an abnormal regime like Putin’s Russia?” queried Mr Tatchell.
The list of Olympians supporting Principle 6 includes Sochi-bound Olympians Belle Brockhoff (Australia), Heath Spence (Australia), and Mike Janyk (Canada). To see the full list of Olympians backing Principle 6: http://www.principle6.org