Speaking exclusively to PinkNews.co.uk at Saturday’s Whitehall demonstration against Russia’s anti-gay laws Peter Tatchell condemned the lack of action that has been taken against Russia from both Prime Minister David Cameron and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
He told PinkNews.co.uk that “David Cameron says he opposes a boycott of the Sochi Winter Olympics, I want to know what he is going to do to challenge homophobia in Russia. So far he hasn’t given any answers and if he doesn’t come up with a plan he will in affect be colluding with the Putin regime.”
When asked about the effectiveness of the protests against Russia and the call for boycotts he said: “This protest and the boycott of Russian vodka has been really effective at raising awareness of the homophobic persecution in Russia. They’ve put it into the headlines and got the message out to millions of people worldwide. We now have to think about new stages in the campaign including tackling the main sponsors of the Sochi Winter Olympics, corporations such as McDonalds, Visa and Coca-Cola.”
“The Russian vodka boycott is largely a gesture and by itself it won’t change things but gestures are important and it sends a signal to Russia and Russian businesses that the world is watching.”
Mr Tatchell added: “It’s very important that we don’t just see this solely in terms of LGBT rights, the attacks upon the LGBT community in Russia are part of a broader attack on civil society. Freedom of expression for all Russians is under attack, we have to create a coalition between gay and straight people to fight the Putin regime.”
Mr Tatchell concluded by taking aim at the IOC, he told PinkNews.co.uk that “the International Olympic Committee claims it is concerned about what is happening in Russia and plans to seek further assurances from the Russian Government, those claims do not ring true. Last summer the Russian Government banned an LGBT pride house at the Sochi Winter Olympics. In response the IOC said nothing and did nothing. It has been actively colluding with Russian homophobia for the last year and I have no confidence that the IOC can be trusted to defend any human rights let alone the rights of LGBT people.”