Four LGBT activists in Russia have just been arrested as the Opening Ceremonies commence in Sochi. Their offense? Holding signs supporting Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter that read: “Discrimination is incompatible with the Olympic Movement.”
It’s now clear that the only people who can speak out without fear of persecution are Olympic athletes. The IOC has confirmed their right to free speech in Olympic press conferences, but we need to ask them to speak out.
The four people arrested included a pregnant woman and Anastasia Smirnova, a Russian activist who has supported the Principle 6 campaign since it launched last year.
This is not what the Olympics are supposed to be about.
The message of the Principle 6 campaign is making progress. Yesterday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon quoted Principle 6 in a statement from Sochi, and Google is referencing the charter on its LGBT-Olympic homepage.
We're speaking with athletes, coaches and associations on the ground in Sochi. The more support for Principle 6 we have, the easier it is for athletes to say something.
Thank you for taking a stand with us.