Russian president Vladimir Putin is due 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 state 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.
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 is due in the Netherlands at around 14.00 hours. He will visit the Peter the Great exhibition at the Hermitage museum with queen Beatrix before holding talks with Rutte and various ministers.
The visit ends with dinner at the Maritime museum which will also be attended by Russian and Dutch business representatives.
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