Brass band could poke fun at Putin by playing gay anthem Y.M.C.A at Winter Olympics

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A Dutch brass band has said they may play ‘Y.M.C.A.’ at the Winter Olympics in protest over Russia’s anti-gay laws.

The band, Kleintje Pils, traditionally play at Olympic speed skating events, and have performed at every Winter Olympics since 1998.

It is unclear how the Russian authorities would respond to the Village People song, which is considered a gay anthem, as it could be seen as a violation of the country’s ‘gay propaganda’ laws and strict rules on protest at the event.

Band leader Ruud Bakker said that though they want to send “a signal” to Russia, the band didn’t want their performance turned into a “political game”.

Russia passed a law in June 2013 banning distribution of “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” among minors, which means gay people cannot express their views on LGBT rights to anyone under the age of 18.

However, on the issue of whether athletes or spectators who campaign against the law could face arrest, President Putin said on Sunday: “Protest actions and propaganda are two slightly different things. Similar, but from a legal point of view, protesting against a law is not the same as propaganda for homosexuality or child abuse.”

He added: “Extremists are always trying to draw attention to themselves. They are narrow-minded people. The whole world sees them as criminals with no regard for human life.”

However, a protester was detained at the Olympic torch relay on Saturday for unfurling a rainbow flag in protest of the laws.

The Winter Olympics are due to start on 6 February in Sochi, Russia.