Gay pride flashmob occupies King’s Parade for Sochi

Students stand up to Putin in kiss-in flashmob

gay pride flashmob human rights in Russia LGBT Cambridge LGBT Russia Sochi olympics solidarity

At noon today, Cambridge students took to the streets to stage a same-sex kiss-in flashmob, in a show of solidarity for the Russian LGBT community. 

As the clock struck 12, music blasted from hidden speakers and rainbow flags unfurled themselves from windows running along the parade.
Flying the rainbow flag

Flying the rainbow flag

In a synchronised action, students of all sexual-persuasions kissed and hugged each other in an act of what Vladimir Putin would call “gay propaganda”.
#nofilter

#nofilter

Chloe, a straight student from Queens’, said “I don’t know a lot about Russia but I came out onto the streets to show my support. It was a great moment.”
Love and solidarity

Love and solidarity

The action was held amid the wave of human rights abuses which have swept across Russia following the passing of anti-gay legislation last year.

The situation in Russia has led many countries to “boycott”  the Sochi winter olympics and many athletes have donned rainbow gear and LGBT symbols for the games in solidarity.

Elly Smith, student and flashmob orchestrator, said “My girlfriend and I can hold hands on the street without fear. We feel very lucky to live in a town where people aren’t persecuted for who they love.

“Not everyone has this. Not everyone even knows it is possible. So I wanted to demonstrate what a tolerant world looks like, and send it to Russia as a message of hope.”

LGBT+ officer for King’s, Agnes Cameron, added “I thought it might get a little awkward, but it was just lots of happy people kissing each other.

“What’s lovely about Cambridge is that nobody really batted an eyelid.

“We’re really fortunate to live in a place which is so accepting – it’s important to remember that not everyone is this lucky.”

The footage from today’s flashmob will form part of a UK-wide video project called “To Russia With Love.”

Photo credits to Louis Shankar and Francesca Ebel