Report: Russian police arrest gay rights activists protesting Olympics

Friday February 7th, 2014

Due to Russia's anti-gay laws, treatment of gay-rights protesters - like those from a May 2013 protest seen here - was a major point of speculation. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky) There was speculation about how Russia would treat gay-rights protesters - like those from a May 2013 protest seen here. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

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.

SI STAFF: Anti-gay demonstration in Sochi

Leading Russian LGBT movement leader Anastasia Smirnova reportedly was among those arrested.

From The Nation:

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."
FARBER: The bar is low for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi

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