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Citing ‘Terrorism,’ Vladimir Putin Signs Order Banning All Protests At The Olympics

by David Badash on August 23, 2013

in 2014 Winter Olympics,Discrimination,News,Politics

Post image for Citing ‘Terrorism,’ Vladimir Putin Signs Order Banning All Protests At The Olympics

Citing “terrorism,” Russia’s President Vladimir Putin just signed a decree that will ban all demonstrations, rallies, and protests in Sochi, Russia, well before and after the 2014 Winter Olympics. The official order, reported in the Russian press today, bans “meetings, rallies, demonstrations, marches and pickets that are not associated with the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games” that are not officially part of the Olympic Games. Travel will be highly restricted in the area, and every person will be searched. The Winter Olympics in Sochi are from February 7-23, and the Paralympics are from March 7-16, but the order covers far more time.

The order “requires the implementation of special measures for their anti-terrorism protection, subject to enhanced protection in the manner prescribed in the period of preparation for the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.”

“Among other measures in the decree were restrictions on vehicles entering Sochi. Only cars with local license plates, emergency vehicles and those accredited by the Olympic organizers will be allowed to enter the host city between Jan. 7 and March 21,” Global News reports:

Rights organizations have earlier voiced concerns about what they described as the “harassment and intimidation of civil society” advocates in Sochi. Human Rights Watch said in a statement that environmental, human rights and other activists have been “the targets of attacks, detention for peaceful protests and police searches.”

Gay activist Nikolai Alexeyev told The Associated Press on Friday that he would petition the Supreme Court next week to contest the presidential decree banning rallies in Sochi as “violating our right of freedom of assembly.”

Russian authorities have repeatedly denied gay activists’ applications to set up a Pride House in Sochi during the Games but Alexeyev said he would apply for permission to hold a gay pride rally in Sochi on the opening day of the Games anyway.

In fact, Alexeyev took to Twitter to blast the move by Putin:

Last night, Russian LGBT journalist Masha Gessen told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes that the protests from the West against Putin’s war on gays and anti-gay laws are working. “They’ve really squirmed,” Gessen said.

UPDATE: LGBT blogger John Aravosis weighs in:

“Russia’s new threats, which appear to tie gay human rights – and any freedom of speech during the Winter Olympics – to “terrorism” (is it just a coincidence that a “terror” document banning free speech at Sochi comes out now?) is sure to further depress turnout at what was already considered one of the most unsafe Olympic games in recent memory.

And there’s an even greater headache now for the International Olympic Committee.

Any violation of Russia’s draconian anti-gay “propaganda” law during the Sochi Olympics is now a violation of a Russian anti-terrorism decree.

That would seem to raise the crime of being openly gay to an entirely new and dangerous level: An act of terrorism.

And what exactly is the price one pays for violating anti-terror decrees in Russia?  Our Olympians may soon find out.

Image by Alexander Persson via Instagram

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ZaidiBaraka August 23, 2013 at 5:12 pm

Russia's fast crawl to fascism is in 4th gear!

MiddleGrounds August 23, 2013 at 5:22 pm

Either that or else they added a jet propelled engine to fascism, because they are speeding to #1 real quick!

BeerandOnion August 24, 2013 at 10:24 am

The games have to be moved.

Jonesmore August 24, 2013 at 1:49 pm

What can I do about it? I'm a sixteen year old Oregonian. Is there anything I can do that's actually worth a damn? Give me some ideas. I want to do something. I just don't know what I can do.

sdfrenchie August 24, 2013 at 11:39 pm

There is a protest planned against Coca-Cola's sponsorship of the Olympics. There is a lot you can do that's actually worth a damn.

Here's the website for The Advocate. You may already be familiar with it. It's an old and trusted gay news magazine.

Here is the website for the group sponsoring the protest:

Thank you for your concern. I knew where my head was at 16, so I'm not going to lecture you or give you advice. Just thank you. As you know, we have a pretty tough road ahead of us here at home, too. So don't stop being aware after the Olympics. Good luck!

ohdatguy August 25, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Jonesmore, my org has been in touch with an LGBT org in both Moscow and St. Petersburg, they have asked us to send them letters, video, photos and images of encouragement to spread among their community. In reality that is the best we can do at this point – give them strength to keep fighting. It sounds as many gays/lesbians there were losing hope. The treatment of LGBT citizens was spiraling downward long before the law passed in June, it has only gotten worse.

Check it out. I'd love to hear your thoughts:

Jonesmore August 25, 2013 at 11:58 pm

Thank you so much! I'm going to get working on this right now!

ohdatguy August 26, 2013 at 3:57 am

awesome! share it with friends! your class, your school! everywhere!

sdfrenchie August 24, 2013 at 11:30 pm

This is what we have to look forward to in America if we don't put a stop to it before these anti-LGBT pricks go any further. I refuse to go back in the closet to please these Nazi bastards. They're not Americans, so they don't need to be changing our laws. Their corporatists. The new regime. We can't sit back and take it or we'll wind up with no parades or protests here as well. Don't be in denial.

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