Rainbow flag on display during Putin's World Cup speech

MOSCOW – The opening day of the World Cup showed various sides of the Russian approach to gay rights, with the rainbow flag shown during President Vladimir Putin's speech at the first game and a British flag. Activist detained for protests

Alexander Agapov, President of the Russian LGBT Sports Federation, held the rainbow flag – a symbol of the gay rights movement – during Putin's speech at Luzhniki Stadium before Russia defeated Saudi Arabia. 0 on Thursday.

"I think you should practice what you preach and if I tell LGBT football fans, then I should do it myself," Agapov told the Associated Press. "Every time the Russian team scored a goal, I blew the rainbow flag … I showed my support."

Agapov said security personnel have no problem with the flag, but he was abused by another spectator outside the stadium. who said, "I do not want this world."

Agapov's Federation organizes sports events for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual athletes, but he said he could not promote them without seeking security because of the threat of attacks.

Russian officials have said that the rainbow flag would be allowed in venues of the World Cup, even though a 2013 law prohibits so-called "propaganda" of homosexuality on under-18s. In practice, it has been used to stifle the debate or prevent people from displaying symbols of gay identity in a public context in which a child could possibly see or hear.

British LGBT activist Peter Tatchell was arrested on Thursday near Red Square in Moscow

Tatchell stood in front of the Kremlin holding a banner that was critical of the Russian president, saying, "Putin is not doing anything against the torture of gay people in Chechnya. "

Several minutes later Tatchell was approached by several police officers Who told him that his protest was not approved? He was taken away and taken to a police car.

About two hours later on Twitter, Tatchell said he had been released and will appear in court on June 26. The Interfax news agency said it had been charged with a law

Dozens of gay men have been talking about being tortured in secret prisons under surveillance by the allies of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. Kadyrov denied the allegations, claiming that there were no gays in Chechnya.


Additional AP coverage: www.apnews.com/tag/WorldCup

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