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Sochi asks IOC to help stop gay law 'speculation'

Published on NewsOK Modified: September 8, 2013 at 7:25 pm •  Published: September 8, 2013
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Putin has no intention of allowing a gay pride parade during the Olympics. He recently signed a decree banning all demonstrations and rallies in Sochi throughout the Winter Games.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams said athletes are allowed to express themselves before the Olympics and outside the games' venues, or even in news conferences. But he said the IOC doesn't want the games themselves to be used as a platform for demonstrations.

Adams was not clear about whether athletes would be subjected to punishment if protesting outside the venues.

"It's obviously Russian law," he said. "What we have is from the deputy prime minister and more recently from the president, absolutely undertaking the law will not affect spectators, athletes or anyone else attending the games. Now, how that works in practice, that's something for the Russian authorities to work out."

Heiberg raised the issue of concerns among sponsors.

"Lately there has been a lot of discussion, especially in Western Europe and in the United States, and I'm being pushed by several of the sponsors asking what will happen with this new law in Russian in connection with the gay community," he said. "We are not to try to change anything over the laws in Russia. We will of course accept this as internal Russian decision. But what will the consequences be?"

Heiberg cited Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter, which says "no kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas."

"We have to be prepared," he said. "We can see many ways this could happen. I heard a lot from the sponsors, especially the American sponsors, what they are afraid of could happen."

Rogge said athletes would soon be reminded about their responsibility to abide by the IOC regulations related to protests in the charter.

"Definitely this is important in terms of informing the athletes about the responsibility of Rule 50," Rogge said. "We are going to do this immediately after this session, the same way we have done it before the Beijing Games, to inform the athletes and the national Olympic committees of the rules of rule 50."

As Sochi officials made their presentation, a few dozen people protested against the gay law outside the Russian embassy in Buenos Aires. They draped security barriers with rainbow flags and held a banner which said "Homophobia Kills."

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