LGBT rights activists project giant messages onto Trump-Putin summit venue

LGBT rights activists have called on Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin to address the anti-gay purge in Chechnya, by projecting a giant message onto the front of the building where they are set to meet.

The US and Russian Presidents are set to meet today (July 16) in Finland for a much-anticipated summit, but Russia’s human rights abuses against LGBT people are not on the agenda for the meeting.

Russia maintains an ‘Orwellian gay propaganda’ law which is used to clamp down on the LGBT community, while a homophobic purge began in the autonomous region of Chechnya in 2017 that has shattered the Chechen LGBT community.

Ahead of the summit, LGBT rights activists from the Human Rights Campaign projected an enormous message on the Presidential Palace in Helsinki – where the pair will meet – calling out  the two leaders.

A message of protest on the side of the palace (Courtesy Human Rights Campaign)

The messages said: “Trump and Putin: Stop the crimes against humanity in Chechnya. Investigate LGBTQ persecution in Chechnya. Bring the perpetrators to justice. The whole world is watching. Silence is deadly. #EyesOnChechnya”

The US-based Human Rights Campaign alleges that “fore than 15 months, Donald Trump and his administration have refused to publicly condemn the systematic torture, abuse, and murder of LGBTQ people occurring in Chechnya as Vladimir Putin has licensed the violence to continue. More than a 100 LGBTQ people have been rounded up, tortured, and abused”.

Ty Cobb, Director of HRC Global, said: “Trump has unconscionably turned a blind eye to some of the worst anti-LGBTQ atrocities in a generation, including monstrous attacks on gay and bisexual men in Chechnya.

“HRC is here in Helsinki to demand Donald Trump end his deafening silence, publicly condemn these Chechen crimes against humanity, and call on Putin to investigate and bring the perpetrators to justice.”

A message of protest on the side of the palace (Courtesy Human Rights Campaign)

Igor Kochetkov, chair of the Russian LGBT Network, said: “We are grateful to all people and organizations who support our work in Chechnya. International attention is essential to putting pressure on Russian authorities to take action.

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