Russia to Designate ‘Protest Zones’ for 2014 Sochi Olympics
Those protesting the Olympics in Sochi, Russia in 2014 will have a designated area in which to do so, as the International Olympic Committee announced that the Russian government will create “protest zones” to accommodate (or corral?) protestors during the Games.
Most will likely be voicing opposition to anti-gay legislation passed earlier this year in Russia that outlaws public display or distribution of materials promoting (or educating about) “nontraditional sexual relations.” Details on the size of the zones and where they would be located in Sochi were not immediately made available.
Athletes, meanwhile, are being warned by the IOC that they should refrain from any gestures or actions that might be deemed in support of gay rights in Russia during competition, for fear of prosecution (or, if you read between the lines, possibly in fear of bad PR for the Olympics). In August, President Vladimir Putin of Russia tried to ban protests in Sochi during the Games.
Sochi, a city of about 350,000 on the Black Sea, will host the Games from February 7-23, 2014.