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The Union of Students in Ireland (USI), Students’ Unions and student LGBTQ societies  demonstrated outside the Russian Embassy in Dublin at 11am today (Wednesday, February 5th).  There was a crowd of 50 + people that braved the bad weather to show solidarity and fight for human rights.

The demonstration is taking place two days before the Winter Olympic Games commence in Sochi. Organisers of the demonstration wish Irish athletes the very best of luck in the Games. Today’s demonstration  shows our solidarity with Russian LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) people.

The demonstration called for:

  • President Putin to pledge not to arrest anyone who is shown to be supporting LGBTQ rights during the Winter Olympics.
  • To call on the International Olympics Committee to honour Principle 6: “Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement,” in relation to Sochi and future Olympic venues.
  • The Irish Government to condemn the treatment of LGBTQ people in Sochi and across Russia.
  • President Putin to lift the 100 year ban on Moscow Pride.

Speakers  included Vladimir Dotsenko, a Russian national working as a lecturer in Dublin; Max Kyrzanowski, Organiser with LGBT Noise; Amy Dudley, Auditor of DIT LGBT Society; Patrick Dempsey, Co-Chair of IGLYO (International LGBTQ Youth and Student Organisation) and Stephen Hatton, LGBT Rights Officer with TCD Students’ Union.

Laura Harmon, USI Vice-President for Equality and Citizenship said:

‘It’s important that we stand firmly against homophobia and transphobia both at home and abroad. The students of Ireland and the LGBTQ community here are in solidarity with LGBTQ people in Russia. The law banning ‘the propaganda of non-traditional relationships in Russia’ is a violation of freedom of expression and prevents LGBTQ people in Russia from accessing vital information. Russia has become a place of violence and intimidation for LGBTQ people. The international community and corporate sponsors cannot stand idly by and ignore these human rights violations. USI will be urging our politicians to confront Russian representatives on this issue.”

Vladimir Dotsenko, a Russian national working as a mathematics lecturer in Trinity College Dublin will be speaking at the protest to urge the participants to put pressure on politicians to confront Russian representatives on the topic of LGBTQ rights and especially the “gay propaganda bill.”. He hopes that students in Ireland will make sure that their voices on this matter are heard.

Vladimir said: “Russia cannot maintain its ambitions of a superpower state if it cannot participate as an equal in world Summits, meetings of the European Council and other assemblies of that calibre. We should make sure that on every occasion of that sort, Russian representatives are asked all those inconvenient questions, precise questions supported by facts and figures.”

For more information contact USI Communications & Research Executive Grainne O’Reilly on 087-6776636, or 01-9052100

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