On Wednesday a demonstration took place against the persecution of LGBTQI people in the Russian republic of Chechnya. Almost 500 turned up at the Homomonument in Amsterdam to protest. The news of the mass incarceration and torture of LGBTQI people in Chechnya as hit a nerve in Amsterdam and The Netherlands. That showed at this solemn, yet powerful demonstration of solidarity at this important monument for the LGBTQI community. But it was not only a show of protest and solidarity, it was also a call to action.
Showing solidarity, calling for action and compassion
As with every demonstration, several speeches were held. The city alderman Eric van der Burg and Tanja Ineke, the president of the LGBTQI organization COC, called upon the minister responsible for immigration to adjust his policies. These adjustments should make it possible for Chechnya LGBTQ people who are in immediate danger to find a safe refuge within The Netherlands. This call to action was quite poignant, since the responsible minister is a party member of the city alderman.
— Gemeente Amsterdam (@AmsterdamNL) April 19, 2017
Furthermore Tanja Ineke also stressed in her speech the importance of showing the international solidarity towards “our Chechnya brothers and sisters”. She called the persecutions within Chechnya not only a disgrace for this specific Russian republic, but for the whole of Russia. So she also called upon Russian president Putin to take immediate action.
Also the Russisch-Dutch LGBTQI-activist Vladimir Chorchordin gave a speech. He read out a declaration by the Russian LGBT Network, an organization that supports LGBTQI people from Chechnya. The LGBT Network thanked the demonstrator, stating that ” you make the voices of LBGTQI people in Chechnya heard”.
Chechnya call to action
The demonstration was a initiative of Vladimir Chorchordin, Dutch activist Hans Verhoeven, COC Nederland en Amnesty International. At the end there were two calls to action.
First, calling up as many people as possible to sign a petition by Amnesty International. This petition calls upon governments to take some swift action to end the persecution. Second a fundraising was started for the LGBTQI victims in Chechnya.