LGBT rights protesters in Umhlanga on Wednesday
Durban joined cities across the world on Wednesday in protesting against the sponsors of Russia’s Sochi Winter Olympic Games.
Protesters gathered in at least 19 cities under the banner of activist website All Out and the Principle 6 campaign to call on the sponsors to break their silence on Russia’s oppressive anti-gay law.
Named after the principle opposing discrimination in the Olympic Charter, Principle 6 is a campaign advocating for an end to the legislation.
While some of the top ten Olympic sponsors – namely Atos, Coca Cola, Dow Chemical, General Electric, McDonald’s, Omega, Panasonic, Procter & Gamble, Samsung, and Visa – have expressed their general support for non-discrimination they have all refused to specifically condemn the Russian law.
In South Africa, only a disappointing handful of protestors – all wearing red – turned out to demonstrate outside the McDonald’s in Umhlanga, Durban.
Holding up signs that read “sport does not discriminate” and “end anti-gay laws” they demanded that sponsors speak out against Russian state homophobia and that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) undertake reforms to monitor and prevent human rights abuses in future host countries.
Organiser Delano Simpson told Mambaonline that customers seemed to be interested in reading their placards while the fast food stores’ manager seemed unaware of the controversy surrounding McDonald’s and the other Olympic sponsors.
“He got a bit upset and we had to move to the pavement,” Simpson said.
When asked what the average person could do in support of the campaign, he called for the public to boycott the sponsors. “The only way they will listen is if it affects their pocket,” he said.
The Sochi Winter Games, set to open on Friday, are among the most controversial in history thanks to the host nation’s oppressive “gay propaganda” law.