Germany: Thousands in Berlin protest against Russian anti-gay law

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Over 2,000 turned out to rally in the German capital Berlin yesterday against a law introduced in Russia in June which bans the promotion of “non-traditional relationships”.

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.

Critics of the law have expressed concern that it bans any support for LGBT people in Russia, including protests, rallies, or gay pride events.

In attendance at the rally on Saturday was German television personality Alfonso Pantisano, who said: “We’re here because we’re human beings and because we believe in 2013 human rights must ultimately be defended everywhere on this planet.”

Last weekend in Copenhagen, 10,000 turned out to rally for the same cause. Many other countries have seen people take to the streets en masse to protest against the laws.

The laws have so far sparked controversy among LGBT activists, with some calling for a boycott of the 2014 Games. Others have also called to boycott Russian vodka.

The artist behind a painting of Russian President Vladimir Putin wearing women’s clothes which was seized by police earlier this week, was forced to flee Russia seeking political asylum.

Konstantin Altunin, the artist who painted the image, has fled to Paris to seek political asylum. According to reports, he has already been visited by officials who allegedly accused him of extremism.

British actor, author and comedian and Stephen Fry wrote to David Cameron and begged him to intervene in the situation in Russia. Mr Fry said that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin “is making scapegoats of gay people, just as Hitler did Jews. He cannot be allowed to get away with it.”

Out4Russia, launched last week and allows users to lobby G20 governments into action against the Russian law.