Protesters urge St Petersburg not to enact anti-gay law
The British Foreign Office is among a number of bodies and groups of protesters around the world urging St Petersburg not to enact the anti-gay law its legislature passed today.
St Petersburg joined three other Russian cities today when it passed a law banning the promotion of gay and trans identities among minors.
The city governor is being called on not to sign the bill into law.
Bruce Pywell, Kaleidoscope’s spokesman on Russia and Eastern Europe, said: “We call on Governor Poltavchenko not to enact this draconian bill, one that has grave consequences for freedom of speech in Russia.
“This deplorable legislation would not only violate the rights of Russians to non-discrimination, to equality before the law, and to privacy, but also breaks the Council of Europe guidelines on preventing discrimination against LGBT people. We strongly urge the rejection of this bill in its entirety. Russia must not legislate hate.”
Kaleidoscope approached the British Foreign Office, which said: “We, along with EU colleagues, have already expressed concern to the St Petersburg legislature and the Russian MFA, that this legislation is incompatible with Council of Europe guidelines on preventing discrimination against LGBT people.
“We hope that it will be reconsidered before it is passed into law by the Governor, and that the important activities of Russian LGBT organisations will not be hampered in the future.”
AllOut.org organised international protests outside the Russian embassies in Berlin, Buenos Aires, Milan, Paris, Rio de Janeiro and New York.
In Paris, Guillaume Bonnet said for AllOut.org: “Today was a great day of global solidarity for LGBT rights. More than 60 people gathered at the Stavinsky Fountain in front of a giant piece of art, representing a man making a sign of silence. Today we showed, in the face of persecution, we will not be silent.”
François Zimeray, the French Ambassador for Human Rights said: “I never understood how public figures in the world would decide to forbid people to be who they are and love who they want. Our century is facing other stakes and challenges, and it deserves better!
“France publicly called the Saint Petersburg’s Assembly to ask them to respect the International treaties that Russia signed. It’s our honor and duty to closely ensure that they are respected.”
In Rio de Janeiro, Flavia Sosinho, AllOut.org said: “It was a great moment when the Ambassador himself came downstairs and spoke with us. He was trying to convince us that this anti-gay law was ‘good for children’.
“But when I asked him if my stepdaughter, who was in this protest with me, would become a lesbian for supporting human rights, he was muted. We delivered an All Out poster, but it was clear that Russia is still believing in censorship for LGBT people.”