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From The Socialist newspaper, 26 April 2017

Protests in solidarity with LGBT+ people facing persecution in Chechnya

Fight homophobic and transphobic attacks, photo Paul Mattsson

Fight homophobic and transphobic attacks, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Around 400 people gathered in Leeds on 22 April to rally in solidarity with LGBT+ people facing violence and imprisonment in Chechnya, Russia.

Recently reports have circulated of imprisonment, torture and killing of gay men along with other groups of people deemed as 'threats' by the Chechen government.

The rally called for support for those campaigning in Russia and Chechnya to support LGBT+ people trying to flee the violence. It also called for demanding our government take action to support those trying to leave Chechnya.

But the rally also raised that the LGBT+ community in the UK must fight back against the Conservative government here; opposing their treatment of LGBT+ asylum seekers who have been deported back to countries where they face violence and death for reading LGBT+ magazines for example. We must also oppose the huge impact of the Conservatives' austerity agenda.

The rally focused on the fact that the LGBT+ community gained rights by fighting for them and we need to continue that legacy to oppose not only the treatment of LGBT+ people in Chechnya, but to fight for an end to discrimination against LGBT+ people everywhere.

Michael Johnson, Leeds Socialist Party

Over 150 people marched through Birmingham city centre against the current repression of the LGBT+ community in Chechnya.

Reports say that gay men and women have been arrested due to their sexuality, with beatings and extra-judicial killings carried out. Chillingly, the Chechen president, Ramzan Kadyrov, has pledged to "eliminate the gay community by the start of Ramadan."

Socialist Party members joined in to show our disgust at the persecution suffered by LGBT+ people in Chechnya and throughout the world. We also took the chance to point out that the fight for LGBT+ rights isn't over in this country.

Prime Minister Theresa May has voted in parliament against LGBT+ rights on multiple occasions. On 8 June we have the chance to kick her out - let's take it!

A young LGBT+ Socialist Party member addressed the rally, mentioning the fact that 100 years ago the Bolsheviks came to power in Russia following the October revolution, and it became one of the first countries in the world to legalise same-sex relationships.

Nick Hart, Birmingham Socialist Party

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