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  • Gay rights activists, wearing soccer jerseys to form a rainbow flag, walk in Moscow

    Gay rights activists, wearing soccer jerseys to form a rainbow flag, walk in Moscow's Red Square as they visit Russia during the World Cup, photo obtained by Reuters on July 10, 2018. | Photo: Reuters via third party

Published 10 July 2018

Activists from various countries formed the gay rights flag using their home countries' soccer team jerseys to "to spread a message of love and tolerance."

Activists from around the world took pictures of themselves wearing their national soccer teams in various parts of Moscow during the World Cup forming a rainbow flag to support gay rights.

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The activists from Spain, Holland, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia, whose soccer jerseys make the colors of the rainbow - the emblem of the LGBTQI movement - released the images taken June 28-30 - after they had left Russia to ensure their safety.

Russia, the host of the 2018 World Cup, prohibits the promotion of homosexuality to minors and has used legislation to prohibit gay pride marches and detain activists.

The group traveled specifically to Russia's capital to pose in front of Moscow’s emblematic Red Square, its metro and the Christ the Saviour Cathedral.

Eloi Pierozan Junior, 32, an Amsterdam-based Brazilian who wore striker Neymar's shirt, said the aim of the action was "to spread a message of love and tolerance around the globe and not only in Russia."

The initiative was led by Spain's largest LGBTQI group, Federacion Estatal de Lesbianas, Gays, Transexuales y Bisexuales, Junior told Reuters.

 

"We were safe at home when we released the project," said Junior.

Vitaly Milonov, the lawmaker who co-authored the law against the promotion of homosexuality to minors, said he didn’t mind the images because the activists didn’t attract much attention. He added abruptly, "no one cares."

"People are coming here to watch the World Cup, not to show off their underpants. But if these people want to walk around in shirts of their color, then good, let them walk," Milonov said.

On the first day of the World Cup, police briefly detained a British gay rights campaigner near the Kremlin when he called attention to what he described as Russia's mistreatment of LGBTQI people.

 


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