During the official visit of the President of Russia Vladimir Putin on the 8th of April in Amsterdam more than 3000 people protested against passing a ‘gay propaganda’ bill in Russia. The aim of Mr. Putin’s visit in Amsterdam was to celebrate the 400th anniversary of cultural exchange between the two countries and to declare, together with Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Russia – The Netherlands Bilateral Year 2013.
On the occasion of Russia’s President arrival in Amsterdam the whole city was flooded by rainbow flags, and everywhere along his route, on bridges and barges hung banners and posters saying in Russian “No to the homophobic bill in Russia”. A branch of Hermitage which was included in the visit itinerary was sealed up by a tape, imitating the police tape, which said “no gay propaganda beyond this line’.
A rainbow protest against ‘gay propaganda’ bill, which passed first reading in State Duma on the 25th of January, took place opposite the National Maritime Museum where Mr. Putin and the Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte had dinner. The main slogan of the protest was “Stop the anti-gay bill!” The members of Russian LGBT-network Maria Kozlovskaya and Anastasia Smirnova took part in the actions. “Unfortunately it is impossible to imagine the same situation in Russia today”, - Maria Kozlovskaya comments, - “We can only hope that the President of Russia has heard our call and I’m glad that he announced his intention to come to an agreement with LGBT community”.
One of the organizers of the actions was the eldest in the world LGBT organization “COC Nederland”, founded in 1946.
Photo by Geert van Tol for COC Netherlands