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Olympic Sponsors Coca-Cola under pressure to condemn Russia's anti-LGBT laws

All Out petition gains momentum online

Russia’s crackdown on the LGBT community and the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Sochi have rightly been all over the headlines in recent months: Now, gay rights group All Out has launched a petition urging one of the Games’ most prominent sponsors, Coca-Cola, to publicly speak out against the country’s anti-gay laws.

Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a bill banning the promotion of “non-traditional” relationships towards minors into law in June, a move seen as part of a larger campaign of violence and repression against LGBT people in the country.

The legislation has cast huge controversy over Russia’s role as host of the 2014 Olympic Games: While many such as Stephen Fry and Pussy Riot have called for a boycott of the event, others such as Sir Ian McKellen and David Cameron have opposed the move, arguing that our attendance can be used as an act of solidarity with LGBT Russians. The idea of a boycott has seemingly been kicked into the long grass, but whatever you believe, more can be done to apply pressure to the Russian government in the run-up to Sochi 2014.

All Out’s campaign is calling for Coca-Cola to speak out against these vicious anti-gay propaganda laws, and as one of the world’s biggest brands and Olympic sponsors, they have the financial clout to influence the opinion of the International Olympic Committee and the Russian government itself.

Coca-Cola will decide in the next two days on whether or to speak out, and the petition calling on them to do so is almost at its target of 350,000 signatures. The more signatures gathered, the more pressure will be put on Coca-Cola to disassociate themselves from the brutal repression of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in Russia.

You can sign All Out’s petition here.

Words: Will Stroude (@willstroude)

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