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Russia anti-gay laws spark protests on Olympics opening day

Gay rights activists held demonstrations around the world on Friday to protest Russia's anti-gay laws.
February 7, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
Members of the U.S. Olympic Committee have been making their way across the U.S. to promote the games. But during their stop at L.A. Live Friday afternoon, they were greeted by activists protesting Russia's anti-gay laws.

The protest coincided with other demonstrations around the world and comes on the opening day of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

"Not only does it suppress freedom, but it suppresses people from their dignity of living an open and honest life about who they really are. In Russia, right now, if you are watching the Olympics and you see a rainbow flag in the air, that's considered propaganda," said Robin McGehee with the group GetEqual.

The Uprising of Love campaign is hosting 60 remote so-called pride houses around the country, including several in West Hollywood. From every drink served, $1 will benefit pro-LGBT groups in Russia.

Russia's anti-gay law bans the distribution of information about homosexuality to children. The law also bans the public display of material on gay rights.

Russian police on Friday arrested several gay rights activists protesting in St. Petersburg and Moscow. Some activists were arrested for waving rainbow flags on Red Square symbolizing gay and lesbian pride.

Activists across the country have protested at each leg of the Olympic committee's nationwide tour called the "Road to Sochi." The tour's visit to Los Angeles marked the 10th stop on a 13-stop tour. The tour event is open to the public and visitors we talked to said they are concerned about the gay right's controversy in Russia.

"Everybody should have equal rights in our society today and it makes me sad that we are still dealing with things like this in this day and age," said Jennifer Maynes of Glendale.

President Barack Obama included openly gay athletes in the delegation representing the U.S. at the Olympics opening and closing ceremonies.

"I think it's clear our country made our stance on that very clear. It's sad that we can't bring that over there," said Kory Johnson from Michigan.


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