Target: Russian President Vladimir Putin
Goal: Stop detaining peaceful protesters in Russia during the Olympic games
While freedom of speech should be granted during the Sochi Olympic games, Russian police are arresting and detaining peaceful protesters. Many of these protesters will go to court during the games and be punished for peacefully protesting. Urge Russia to stop detaining these protesters and acknowledge their right to freedom of speech.
Dozens of protesters were detained in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Nalchik during the first two days of the Olympic games. Most of the detained were held for three or four hours, but some for longer – without food or water. Those that were detained were often abused by the police. Testimony from eyewitnesses claim that the police spat in one activist’s face, attempted to strike at another, and more than one activist was questioned with a plastic bag over his or her head.
The concerns expressed during these protests were varied. Some were about gay and lesbian rights. One such protester waved a rainbow flag and sang the Russian National anthem during the Sochi opening ceremony. Another demonstration protested the use of Sochi in the Olympic games, stating that Sochi was the homeland for Circassian and other ethnic minorities, but were expelled from this land during the Russian conquest in the 19th century.
Protesters told Human Rights Watch that the police waited for them and stopped the demonstrations from happening. All of the protesters were charged with administrative offenses and have been given court dates in the next following days. These inhumane detainments need to stop. The Olympic games grant freedom of speech and the Russian government continues stomping on these rights. The police need to stop detaining peaceful protesters and allow them to exercise their rights.
Dear President Vladimir Putin,
I understand that your nation has detained dozens of peaceful protesters during the Olympic games. However these games allow participants the right to freedom of speech. Therefore Russia is violating these rules. I am demanding that you stop these detainments and allow your citizens and other participants to express and exercise their rights.
While I realize that your government has laws that restrict your citizens’ right to freedom of speech, that does not mean you are allowed to deny these rights during the Olympics. You are doing your country and people a great injustice and tarnishing the image of Russia in front of the whole world.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Olga Loginova via rferl.org