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Hundreds to protest against Chechnya’s anti-LGBT crackdown on Holocaust Memorial Day

Earlier this month, it was reported that more than 40 men and women were detained and two died from torture

By Steve Brown

Hundreds of London’s LGBT+ community are set to descend upon the Russian Embassy on Holocaust Memorial Day (January 27) to protest against the new wave of attacks in Chechnya.

In 2017, it was reported that more than 100 gay men were arrested, tortured and killed in the predominately Muslim region of Russia and when Chechen authorities denied the accusations, a probe found nothing to support the reports.

But earlier this month, the Russian LGBT Network – which has been monitoring the situation and helping victims of the anti-gay purge – said that around 40 men and women have been detained in the same facility on suspicion of being gay since December.

At least two of them have died of torture.

This Sunday (January 27), this Holocaust Memorial Day – which will mark 80 years since the start of World War II – hundreds will remember the thousands of LGBT+ people who were killed during the Nazi regime and those who are still being brutalised since.

Michael Salter-Church MBE, Co-Chair of Pride in London, said: “50 years on from brave activists taking a stand at Stonewall, the appalling events in Chechnya highlight with vivid brutality that the fight isn’t over.

“Whilst the UK is focused on Brexit, we mustn’t forget those who need our support. We must take a stand for our community in countries where they can’t as it could – and does – cost them their lives.

“The British Government must raise this at the highest level with Russia and call for both an end to this persecution and the prosecution of the perpetrators.

“Let us also show the world our support of human rights by raising this at the UN.

“We urge members of the LGBT+ community in London to join protests and give money to activists in Chechnya, Russia and other countries where people face death and imprisonment for being who they are.”

The protest will call on Theresa May to publicly condemn the crackdown as well as asking governments to give shelter to those fleeing Chechnya.

They are also calling for a United Nations Independent Investigation on Russia with a mandate on the human rights violations and they urge Russian authorities to bring those responsible for the attacks to be brought to justice.