Protesting the Anti-Gay Crackdown in Chechnya and Indonesia

The government crackdowns on gay men in Chechnya and Indonesia have prompted Rise and Resist – an activist group formed following the election of Donald Trump – to organize protests to bring attention to the victims. Gay City News’ Andy Humm covered both rallies.

(Photo by Christian Miles via Gay City News)

On June 11, some 50 demonstrators marched from the Christopher Street pier through the West Village and Chelsea to Union Square. Knowing they would have no influence on Russian president Vladimir Putin or Chechan president Ramzan Kadyrov, the participants took another angle.

Rise and Resist’s lead organizer on the demonstration, Branden Hayward, who said he is new to this kind of street protest, explained, “My sights are set in the immediate future on getting chief level executives at BP, Exxon, Shell, and Chevron that have enormous investments in Russia and claim to support LGBT rights to take action.”

Lyosha Gorshkov, the co-president of the Russian-speaking LGBTQ group RUSA-LGBT, said to the crowd:

“We’re trying to save lives. More than 300 have been detained and more than 20 killed by the government. We cannot do anything with Putin and Kadyrov, but we can pressure the government here in the US to issues special visas” so that the crackdown’s victims can find refuge here.

Earlier in the week, on June 5, a dozen or so protesters assembled outside the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia on the Upper East Side.

Activists from Satu Pelangi and Rise and Resist gathered outside Indonesia’s Consulate General in Manhattan on June 5. (Photo by Andy Humm via Gay City News)

Luthfi Madjid of the New York-based Satu Pelangi (“One Rainbow”) organization for LGBTQ Indonesians, hand-delivered a group letter to President Joko Widodo calling on him to “disband the West Java anti-LGBT unit and devote police resources to protecting minorities from vigilante groups,” including in the Aceh province. There, Sharia law is being imposed on gay people and two gay men were caned brutally in public this past month.

The activists also drew attention to the recent forced HIV testing of 14 gay men arrested in Surabaya. The fact that anti-LGBTQ persecution has spread from the fundamentalist Aceh to the rest of the world’s largest Muslim nation has caused international alarm.

Go to Gay City News for more details on the demonstrations in support of gay Chechans and Indonesians.

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