Dozens of demonstrators gathered in front of the Russian embassy Saturday in Tel Aviv, to protest legislation targeting the LGBT community passed by Russian authorities, as well as the growing number of violent incidents against gay persons in Russia.
Police reported that at least 200 protesters lined up on Hayarkon Street, carrying signs and chanting slogans against the Russian government.
Russia’s anti-gay legislation has sparked worldwide condemnation by leading figures, and a number of protests have been held in many major cities across the globe to denounce a law that prohibits the spread of “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” among minors.
The law, signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in June, imposes fines and up to 15 days in prison for violators. Hefty fines are levied for holding gay pride rallies, and foreigners can be deported if charged with violating the law.
It was also recently reported that there are hundreds of cases of fascist gangs in Russia abusing young homosexuals.
High profile celebrities such as actor-playwright Harvey Fierstein, British writer-actor Stephen Fry, and “Star Trek” actor George Takei are among those who have publicly condemned the new law, fueling an uproar that is overshadowing preparations for the Feb. 7-23 Winter Olympics, set to take place in the Russian city of Sochi.
The gay rights crackdown in Russia has exploded into a hot-button controversy that is challenging Olympic leaders like no other since the protests over Tibet and human rights before the 2008 Games in Beijing.
President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, and former Olympic athletes such as Greg Louganis have also recently issued stark condemnations of the law.