Sweden: Pedestrian crossing outside Russian embassy painted in rainbow colours

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A pedestrian crossing outside the Russian embassy in Stockholm was late last week painted to rainbow colours, in what is being hailed as a protest against recently introduced anti-gay laws in Russia.

The photograph appeared on Saturday evening, and is being credited to human rights activist Claes Betsholtz, as he posted the image first.

Swedish news source SVT reported on Friday that the crossing had been painted in protest against the recently introduced laws, one of which bans homosexual “propaganda”, to mark the beginning of the World Athletics Championships in Moscow.

President Vladimir Putin signed the law in June banning the promotion of “non-traditional relationships” toward minors, a move that has been criticised as part of a broader crackdown on Russia’s gay community. Other laws banning the adoption of Russian children by foreign same-sex couples, and one which enables organisations receiving funding from abroad to be fined as “foreign agents”, were also passed.

On Wednesday, author and television presenter Stephen Fry wrote an open letter to David Cameron, International Olympics Committee President Jacques Rogge and Lord Coe, urging for the 2014 Winter Olympics to not take place in Sochi.

In a statement, the IOC said it “respected Mr Fry’s opinion” and the committee was clear that “sport is a human right and should be available to all regardless of race, sex or sexual orientation”.

Speaking at a protest in London against the anti-gay laws, Mr Fry told PinkNews that greater pressure needs to be placed on Russia regarding its position on LGBT rights and he’s urging people to “mock” President Vladimir Putin.

A UK Government source also said that they anticipated the issue of homophobic oppression in Russia would be raised at the G20 Heads of Government meeting.

With international interest on the LGBT situation in Russia at an unprecedented level – on Thursday PinkNews published a collection of the most shocking LGBT stories to have come from the country in the past seven years.