From Iceland — Queer Rights Activists Descend On Russian Embassy

Queer Rights Activists Descend On Russian Embassy

Published May 3, 2017

Elías Þórsson
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Queer rights organisation Samtökin 78 is staging a three day demonstration outside the Russian embassy in Reykjavík to protest the violent crackdown on homosexuals in Chechnya.

In April, Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported that round 100 gay and bisexual men had been rounded up by police authorities and that at least three had been killed.

“The British foreign ministry has confirmed that Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of the Chechen Republic, has said he wants to eliminate homosexuality before Ramadan starts on May 26,” said Kittý Anderson, international spokesperson for Samtökin 78.“

The organisation wants Icelandic authorities to put pressure on Russian authorities to speak out against the situation in the republic. They have provided authorities with updates about the situation and last month foreign minister Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarsson called for an investigation into reports of anti-gay violence.

“We are in direct contact with the European queer rights organisation ILGA Europe and they have been collection donations to help evacuate gay people from Chechnya,” Anderson said. “It is also vital that an investigation gets underway about the situation. We fear that if nothing is done it might embolden other regions in Russia to commit similar atrocities.”

According to Anderson Icelanders can assist by donating to ILGA Europe in order to help with the evacuation, but also by speaking up. She claims that activists in Russia follow international news closely and that it is vital they know “they haven’t been forgotten.”

The protest started today with a human chain outside the Russian embassy at Garðstræti 33, and will culminate in a large demonstration on Friday at 16.

“We want to encourage all Icelanders to show up,” she said. “This protest is about more than just queer rights. This is a chance for all Icelanders to come together and show that we believe in human rights and demand they be upheld everywhere.”

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