The placards read: “Olympic sponsors break your silence on LGBTQ+ Russia!”, “Defend LGBTQ+ people in Russia!” and “Demand protection for LGBTQ+ Russians!”. We wonder if these demo photos will remain online as attention is drawn to them worldwide, or whether Coca-Cola will seek to silence the demonstrators’ call for equal rights.
Whilst Coca-Cola may be the “best place to work for LGBT equality“, they seek to benefit financially from sponsoring an event in a country which actively oppresses LGBTQ+ people through new anti-gay laws.
Since Putin passed the law against the “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to minors”, Russian LGBTQ+ citizens have seen homophobic and transphobic violence against them increase, whilst police stand by or even arrest the victims of assault. These laws victimise LGBTQ+ people and validate violence towards us in a country where people are increasingly angry at a multitude of oppressive measures from the government.
As Olympic sponsors, Coca-Cola and other sponsors are in a strong position where a statement of solidarity with Russian LGBTQ+ people, and explicitly against the anti-gay laws in Russia, would put pressure on Putin and his government to reconsider. Coca-Cola should use its sponsorship to raise awareness of the plight of Russian LGBTQ+ people, as its current silence makes Coca-Cola complicit in the abuse of LGBTQ+ people.
You can help raise awareness and put pressure on Coca-Cola by sharing this post, sharing the photos linked above on Facebook and Twitter, and sign a petition such as this one to demand Coca-Cola speak out. We’ll also be targeting other sponsors and demonstrating at the opening ceremony of the Olympics, so keep in touch with us via Facebook at http://facebook.com/russiawithlovebrighton
See more photos of the demonstration (not published by Coca-Cola!) at http://bit.ly/cokedemo2
Here’s me protesting at the Coca-Cola truck after we did the official Coca-Cola photo shoot!