It’s the first day of the World Cup in Russia and probably what will be flooding your news and social media feeds for the next month. But with the platform comes a great responsibility for those who have an opportunity to send a message. Take British gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, for instance. On the first day of the World Cup, Tatchell held a one-man protest to draw attention to human rights abuse committed against gay men in Chechnya.
A story that we have been following with the rest of the world for over a year, Tatchell has held similar protests around the world.
Tatchell held a sign that read: Putin fails to act against Chechnya torture of gay people.
After an hour and 40 minutes standing in central Moscow, Tatchell was detained by police according to Reuters.
Tatchell shared with Reuters:
Senior officers were stern but the apprehending officer very helpful, friendly and polite.
I presume I was well treated, partly because I am a British citizen and because a senior British Embassy consular official… contacted the police. I guess the Russians also did not want to be seen as being heavy-handed during the World Cup.
President Putin has failed to condemn and act against the homophobic witch-hunts in Chechnya, which have seen scores of LGBT+ people arrested and tortured, with some even being killed.
The British Embassy supported Tatchell during the process.
The activist will appear in court on June 26 as he is accused of breaking a federal law on the holding of public meetings and demonstrations in addition to a presidential decree that prohibits protests during the World Cup.