Melbourne joins Sochi opening day protest
Protesters in Melbourne today joined in a global demonstration against Russia's 'anti-gay' laws to coincide with the opening of the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Earlier protests urging Olympic sponsors Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Samsung and Visa to speak out against Russia's homophobic laws took place earlier this week and included a gathering outside Melbourne's Flinders Street Station.
In Melbourne a protest was organised by the Victorian Socialist Party and took place on Friday outside Russia House in Fitzroy.
One of the protesters, Chris Dite, told gaynewsnetwork that he counted over 60 people, far outnumbering the two pro-Russian supporters.
“The two pro-government people arrived looking to cause trouble but the turnout was so big nothing ended up happening,” he said.
“The police were called though,” he added.
Dite said that Russia House is an honorary consulate and the closest to a Russian Embassy that Melbourne has. The Ambassador was not present today and the building was locked.
Dite stressed the protest was not against Russia House but was the government.
“The message was not directed at the Olympic sponsors, it's too late for that I think given their main interest is in making money.
“Our message was that the struggle against homophobia is an international struggle and has different fronts in different countries. For a few years in Australia the main front has been the battle for marriage equality. In different countries it's different areas.
“But today ordinary LGBTIQ people and their friends and supporters stand with ordinary Russian LGBTIQ people and their friends and supporters against what their government is doing.”
Photo: Protestors outside Russia House. Photo: Chris Dite