Over 600 LGBT+ people and their supporters joined a protest outside the Russian embassy in west London last night, Wednesday.
The protest, organised by Pride in London, came in response to reports that gay men are being rounded up into prison camps in Chechnya in the Russia Federation.
Protester Maeve told Socialist Worker, “I didn’t go on protests or think about the bigger question before, but showing solidarity is important.
“What’s happening is horrific.”
Alice added, “As soon as we heard about it we had to come down because it’s important.”
Many protesters wanted the British government to put pressure on Russia. Seth told Socialist Worker, “We have to get politicians to speak out so the Chechen government finds it unacceptable.
“Only when others speak out will they stop doing it—we can’t keep quiet about what’s going on.”
The reports of the Chechen government’s homophobia are part of a much deeper problem throughout Russia.
Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, has ramped up homophobia as part of building support for his nationalist rhetoric of restoring Russian influence.
Building a public relationship with the reactionary Orthodox Church and promoting “traditional family values” is part of that and sees LGBT+ people’s and women’s rights painted as “Western” and “liberal”.
The present Chechen government owes its power to Putin, who brutally crushed an nationalist insurgent that was fighting for independence from Russia in the 1990/2000s.
Chants of “Close the camps” and “No human is illegal” rang out as protested straddled both sides of the road.
Gethin Roberts, who was part of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM), told Socialist Worker, “It’s really important that we put pressure on our politicians to stand up to Putin and insist that it’s not acceptable.
He added, “We also need to make sure that people get asylum in Britain.
Everyone who’s here has to do more to support LGBT+ organisations in Russia so they can get people to safety.”
Demanding the Tory government of bigots intervene against Russia on the world stage would only bolster its imperialist posturing in the wake of Trump launching an assault on Syria and ramping up imperialist tensions in the South China Sea.
But the government could grant people being persecuted the right to come here.
It’s sending shockwaves through the British establishment
Escalating the action can win
Emma was murdered in 2005
Iain Packer murdered Emma in 2005