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MPs encourage athletes and fans to wave pride flags at Sochi Olympics

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  1. And how does this help those that are being tortured and arrested on a daily basis in Russia.

  2. Do these people not read? Are they rally completely ignorant of what’s happening? Are these “MP’s” bothering to do ANY research at all?

    The IOC has already stated that any protest by athletes can (and probably will) be punished. The Russian authorities have already stated that their laws will be enforced and people arrested.

    These MP’s are so clueless to the facts that when they do open their stupid mouths they just look like complete idiots jumping on a bandwagon.

    1. Jock S. Trap 16 Aug 2013, 4:13pm

      The minute a bigoted IOC member said we should accept the law was the minute the IOC made Sochi political.

      If Russia chooses to make issue out of it the minute they make are highlighted further in the world.

    2. I think that’s a bit harsh. The IOC’s messages have been very mixed on this issue. To their credit, they have asked Russia to confirm that the laws won’t be used against athletes and participants at the Games, and the prohibition on propaganda under the IOC Charter only applies to political or religious demonstrations. Given that there is a frequent Pride House at the Olympics, and some athletes have confirmed that they will be making small gestures such as rainbow badges or rainbow-coloured nails, I think the IOC would struggle to defend openly highlighting issues of sexuality as a “political demonstration”, just as past athletes have raised racial discrimination through symbolic gestures.

      As for the Russian authorities, well I really can’t imagine that they would arrest an athlete simply for waving a rainbow flag or some other similar gesture. There would be outrage and Russia knows full well that FIFA would ban it from hosting the World Cup in 2018.

      1. There will be no Pride House at the Sochi Olympics. The IOC has already banned them.

        The two American athletes who made the Black Pride fist gesture in 1968 were reprimanded by the IOC.

        The IOC isn’t going to defend any gay person who challenges Russia’s propaganda law. In fact, they have their own propaganda law they have stated will be in force.

        These MPs are uninformed and making dangerous suggestions without providing any means for ensuring the safety of anyone who takes their advice. This is irresponsible.

      2. As pointed out, Russia banned Pride House from Sochi, there will not be one at the Winter Olympics, and the IOC remained silent on this.
        In addition, the IOC has already pointed out Rule 50, and already stated that participants can be punished under existing rules for simply wearing a rainbow pin.
        Any protest of any kind can be punished by the IOC, it states to in their rules. It’s not simply what is deemed to be “political”, they judge it all on a case by case basis.
        This is basically a threat to athletes, telling them that they can be punished for doing anything that they deem to be a protest – even wearing a rainbow pin.
        As for the Russian authorities, this is a farce. Are we to presume that all police are directly controlled from the Kremlin? No, other law makers and politicians have already confirmed that the laws will remain in place. Do you think they would allow footage to go out around the world of them NOT acting against a protest breaking their laws?

        1. CORRECTION – Rule 51.3
          Prior to the Beijing games the IOC released a statement advising participants that all external appearance, clothing and gestures would be scrutinized.
          The rule states that – “no kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.”
          We might not call it a political protest or propaganda, but the Russian government will. And we most certainly can call it protest.
          The IOC has the rules in place to punish any athlete doing anything, it doesn’t need to be flagrant, it could just be wearing a badge.

  3. Only the flags of competing countries are allowed… and advising people to do something that could lead them in jail is irresponsible.

    1. I guess you think Rosa Parks was also being irresponsible. The worrying thing is that some people agree with you.

      1. If people want to do a Rosa Parks more power to them. Unless these MPs are willing to do it themselves, they are irresponsible.

      2. Rosa Parks wasn’t a public official. Encouraging people to fight against discriminations is the right thing to do, but I bet these MP’s aren’t so willing to do what they’re preaching. I wasn’t implying that we should close our eyes and do nothing, but waving pride flags in Sochi will be seen as the ultimate insult and Russian jails are not the most welcoming in the world.

      3. The words of MP’s who seem to be missing several vital parts of the story here are what is irresponsible.
        I am all for individuals acting on their own, with passion and conviction, and doing what they feel is right. The problem here is that these MP’s seem to have missed all of the discussion about the hypocrisy of the IOC, the threats made to participants over “political protest” and the likely arrest and detention of those acting without knowing the full story themselves.
        It comes across as being a couple of gay MP’s jumping on the story too late, to get their names in the headlines. Where were they during the rest of the discussion, and why do they seem to be so clueless about most of the story?
        Attention seeking MP’s are loathsome to me.

  4. Impossible dream. Flags will be confiscated before any protest could happen – either by the IOC or the”KGB”. You’ll have to think of something else.

  5. The most suitable gesture would be what Stephen Frey suggested – simple crossing hands on the chest. It requires no material and really cannot offend anybody, yet it sends a clear message without a big fuss .

    1. We want a big fuss made about it, surely?

      If LGBT people do go to Sochi to “make their presence felt” as Margot James suggests, then they will probably witness a few competitors brave enough to display their opposition to the anti-gay laws. Those competitors may do so by speaking to the media or by crossing hands on their chests when standing on a podium, but there’s no guarantee that such methods of opposition have much impact. LGBT spectators could wave rainbow flags to stand out but again that is unlikely to cause enough impact. It’s more likely that those spectators would face arrest and the dire consequences of that.

      If crossing hands on chests or waving rainbow flags is enough to be arrested, then we might as well do something dramatic and disruptive. If the Sochi Games are not boycotted or transferred to another host nation, then the only option is for LGBT athletes and spectators to make their presence felt. To do that means a making a “big fuss”.

      1. So, what for example could count as dramatic and disruptive?

    2. Rule 51.3 states that no participants may protest, no matter what the cause. The moment the IOC knows that something is a statement or a protest they can punish those taking part in it.
      This has already been established. It doesn’t matter if it’s a pride badge, a flag, a statement or a simple salute of some kind, the moment the IOC knows that it is an act of protest they can use rule 51.3 to punish those involved.

  6. Perhaps Margot James and Stephen Williams would also like to go to the Sochi Games and not be afraid to stand out by waving rainbow flags. I hope they will do that, considering how they are encouraging everyone else to go and “make their presence felt” and risk arrest (and subsequent torture) in doing so. The IOC has already stated that it will not support dissent and that athletes may face punishment if involved in any protest. Visiting UK citizens to the Games are at the mercy of the Russian police if they are arrested. We already know what they are capable of. A person who protests is literally risking their life. Rather than encouraging people to take that risk, MPs should be campaigning for a boycott, followed by campaigning on the international stage for pressure to be mounted on Putin to cease his persecution.

  7. Warren Alexander 17 Aug 2013, 1:21pm

    How about a big gay kiss-in in front of the podium every time medals are given out?

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