Rio: Gay and Jewish protesters oppose visit by Iranian president

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Gay and Jewish protesters joined together to march in Rio de Janeiro this weekend to protest a visit by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

AFP said the protest was attended by hundreds of rights activists who oppose Ahmadinejad’s treatment of Jews and gay people and his appearance at the UN Rio+20 sustainable development summit.

Ivanir dos Santos from the Commission against Religious Intolerance said religious hatred “harms the environment and Ahmadinejad represents hatred. Sustainable development encompasses human rights.”

Banners said: “Rio does not welcome Mahmoud Ahmadinejad” and “Iranians we love you”.

The gay and Jewish protesters reportedly chanted “Ahmadinejad out of Brazil” along Ipanema beach.

Michel Gherman, head of the Hillel Jewish human rights movement said he was present “to criticize [Mr Ahmadinejad’s] hateful speech denying the Holocaust as well as the persecution of homosexuals and Bahais”.

Claudio Nascimento et Joao Silva, the first gay couple recognized by Rio authorities, said they were compelled to attend as gay people are still “jailed and sentenced to death” in Iran.