IOC: Russia Will Create Special "Protest Zones" For Sochi Olympics
A bit of a bright spot in the ongoing Sochi Winter Olympics saga today as the IOC reveals that Russia has agreed to let protesters have at it during the international event.
The announcement came during a news teleconference held by International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach.
"This was under discussion with the IOC for quite some time," Bach said. "This is a measure we welcome so that everybody can express his or her opinion."
The Games in Sochi have become particularly controversial because of Russia's recently enacted anti-gay legislation threatening prosecution of anyone who, in the presence of minors, promotes "nontraditional sexual relations." Critics worldwide have condemned the law as a violation of the right to free expression, saying the measure effectively bans events such as gay rights parades.
Bach did not offer any details about the size or location of the zones. He said Russian officials have assured him protesters will not face negative consequences.
"I think this is the purpose of these protest zones," Bach said. "This is what we’ve been discussing with Russian authorities."
On the other hand, Bach also confirmed that the IOC has sent letters to all national Olymic Committees, instructing them to let their citizens know not to protest Russia's heinous gay law at sporting venues.