London Activists Wrap Russian Embassy in Rainbow Flag to Protest Anti-LGBTQ Purge in Chechnya

Reports of a second wave of the purge has sparked outrage and calls for justice.

(Above: A protester in California in 2017 holds up a sign comparing the purge in Chechnya to the treatment of queer people in the Holocaust.)

Activists in London wrapped a rainbow flag around the Russian embassy to protest the anti-LGBTQ purge in Chechnya, a federal subject of the country.

According to local advocates, and reported by the Russian newspaper that first broke the story of the purge in 2017, Chechen authorities have launched a new attack on the community, with at least two LGBTQ people murdered and some 40 detained.

Around 100 people participated in Sunday’s action, Gay Times reports, with four demands: For Prime Minister Theresa May to publicly condemn the atrocities taking place in Chechnya, for governments to take in refugees from the area, for a United Nations investigation of Russia, and for Russia to bring those responsible for the acts to justice.

Demonstrators held signs condemning the situation there, some of which included pink triangles, a symbol the Nazis made LGBTQ people in concentration camps wear on their shirts. Yesterday was International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

“50 years on from brave activists taking a stand at Stonewall, the appalling events in Chechnya highlight with vivid brutality that the fight isn’t over,” said Michael Salter-Church, Co-Chair of Pride in London.

“Whilst the UK is focused on Brexit we mustn’t forget those who need our support. We must take a stand for our community in countries where they can’t as it could—and does—cost them their lives. The British Government must raise this at the highest level with Russia and call for both an end to this persecution and the prosecution of the perpetrators. Let us also show the world our support of human rights by raising this at the UN.”

A similar action occurred earlier this month in New York City, where queer activists from Voices4 and RUSA LGBT protested on the steps of New York City’s Russian Consulate, which included a vigil and the creation of a memorial for LGBTQ Chechens.

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