LGBT refugees in anti-Putin sparkler demo at the Barbican

Sparkle protest against homophobia in Russia tonight at the Barbican. Pic: derekskey

Sparkle protest against homophobia in Russia tonight at the Barbican. Pic: Derek Key

A protest will take place at the Barbican Music Hall tonight, attended by a Croydon LGBT refugee group over the performance of Russian conductor and Vladimir Putin supporter, Valery Gergiev.

Gergiev, principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and artistic director of the Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg, has denied homophobic hatred but is listed as a high profile supporter of Putin in the Moscow Times and publicly voted for Putin at the last Russian election.

Rainbows Across Borders, a group for LGBT asylum seekers fleeing persecution, are calling for others to join them with placards and sparklers to illustrate the slogan: “Sparkle for freedom in Russia. Putin suppresses, we sparkle.”

“Putin doesn’t want gay people to be free like here in the UK,” said George Dhabangi, outreach organiser for Rainbows Across Borders.

“We hope that many people will come so that we can send the message that we are not contented with what is going on,” he added.

Dhabangi is also a trustee for the African LGBT Out and Proud Diamond Group, who coordinated the protest with human rights organisation, The Peter Tatchell Foundation.

“Gergiev is a great conductor but he colludes with a tyrant and shows little respect for freedom and equality,” said Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, “as well as escalating repression against the LGBT community, civil liberties and dissidents are also under attack.”

“He has defended the homophobic law that persecutes gay Russians; reportedly laying false claims that it is a law against paedophilia,” he added.

Last Thursday, Tatchell interrupted the opening night of Gergiev’s new season at the Barbican to criticise the pro-Putin stance of the Russian conductor.

Tonight’s protest will take place from 6pm until 7pm at the Barbican Concert Hall, outside the main entrance. Attendees are invited to bring placards and sparklers.

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