PM David Cameron and Lord Coe are against boycotting Russia’s Sochi Winter Games, despite grassroot calls to challenge Russia on its anti-gay laws.
Lord Coe and the Prime Minister David Cameron have reacted to an open letter from broadcaster Stephen Fry calling for the boycott of the Winter Olympics in Sochi 2014. In the letter Fry compared the situation in Russia to the decision to host the 1936 Olympic games in Nazi Germany and that President Putin: ‘is making scapegoats of gay people’, adding that: ‘an absolute ban on the Russian Winter Olympics of 2014 in Sochi is simply essential’.
In June, President Putin signed into law a bill that could see both nationals and international visitors promoting “non-traditional relationships” to anyone under 18 face hefty fines and prison sentences.
The anti-gay law has pulled Russia’s violations against LGBTs into the spotlight, culminating in several boycott actions and numerous petitions.
In a reply via Twitter PM David Cameron wrote:
‘Thank you for your note @stephenfry,’ he posted on Twitter.
‘I share your deep concern about the abuse of gay people in Russia.
‘I believe we can better challenge prejudice as we attend, rather than boycotting the Winter Olympics.’
Meanwhile, according to SportingLife.com, Lord Coe, the vice president of international athletics’ governing body IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) said:
‘I am against boycotts,
‘I don’t think they achieve what they set out to do. They only damage one group of people and that is the athletes.
‘I am a profound believer that international sports and relationships developed through international sport are often in the infancy of social change.
‘I believe that coming to Moscow in 1980 was the right thing to do and 10 years later we see those changes.
‘International sport is not an inhibitor of social change, it actually has quite strong catalytic effects.
‘It is an issue that needs to be addressed but not an issue that is one of a boycott.’
The president of the IAAF told reporters on Thursday that the anti-gay laws were ‘no problem whatsoever,’ going on to say that,
“This law has to be respected. We are here for the World Championships and have no problem whatsoever and I’m not worried at all.”
Their remarks come days after the news that a gay teen who was lured into a tortured trap by Neo Nazis in Russia, had allegedly died from his injuries.
Anti-gay neo Nazi groups have been created online dating profiles on Russian social network VK.com in order to publically out and abuse gay teens.
Hundreds of people lined the streets around Downing Street today to protest against the Russian Embassy.