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Thousands to demonstrate during Putin's visit to Amsterdam

Monday 08 April 2013

Russian president Vladimir Putin arrives at Schiphol airport. Photo: Novum

Russian president Vladimir Putin arrived in the Netherlands on Monday afternoon, on a whirlwind visit to mark 400 years of friendship between the two countries.

Putin’s visit has angered gay rights activists, and several thousand are planning to protest outside Amsterdam’s Maritime museum, where he will attend a formal banquet on Monday evening.

Russia is poised to bring in new legislation which will make it a criminal offence to hold public events or spread information about homosexuality to minors.


So far over 3,300 people have said they will take part, making it ‘one of the biggest demonstrations’ in the history of gay rights lobby group COC.

During the demonstration Amsterdam drag queen Dolly Bellefleur will perform a version of the Bony M hit Rasputin, re-written to target Putin.

On Sunday, former Amsterdam mayor Job Cohen symbolically lowered a rainbow flag to half-mast outside a famous gay bar on the city’s Zeedijk. Campaigners have called for all rainbow flags – symbols of the gay rights movement - to be flown at half-mast throughout the city during the visit.

Human rights

Amnesty International has also written to Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte urging him to tackle Putin about the deterioration in Russia’s human rights record.

Putin first visited the Peter the Great exhibition at the Hermitage museum with queen Beatrix before holding talks with Rutte and various ministers.

There was a small group of protesters outside the museum, Nos television said. Amnesty International had put up yellow posters proclaiming 'No gay propaganda beyond this point', and 'punk bands strictly prohibited', in reference to the jailing of punk band Pussy Riot.

The visit ends with dinner at the Maritime museum which will also be attended by Russian and Dutch business representatives.

© DutchNews.nl


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