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Thousands of people in at least 33 cities in 21 countries took part in a Global Speak Out against Russia’s homophobic new laws yesterday, ahead of the G20 summit in St Petersburg on September 5 and 6.

In London, protestors gathered outside Downing Street. Organiser Paul Burston told So So Gay that Downing Street issued a statement saying that David Cameron would raise the issue with Putin.

Andre Banks, Executive Director and Co-Founder of All Out which co-ordinated the Speak out from New York, says: ‘The anti-gay laws violate Russia’s own constitution, the European Convention on Human Rights and the International Declaration on Human Rights.’

‘If we allow Putin to undermine basic freedoms for gay and lesbian Russians, we accept the destruction of these freedoms for all Russians – gay and straight. Putin is bound by law to protect human rights for every Russian citizen.’

The website LobbyForRussia.org was recently launched to allow people to contact their MP, demanding they take action.

‘Life is becoming increasingly difficult for Russian citizens and no one is safe from Putin’s crackdown – not even the international community,’ continues Banks. ‘Putin’s crackdown is going to collide with the international community during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The IOC has refused to stand-up to Russia in a meaningful way, so athletes, fans, and Russian citizens will suffer if these barbaric laws are not repealed before the games. Putin should do it for the good of Russians and the world. Until he does, the world will speak out.’

All Out made headlines last month when they delivered more than 300,000 All Out petition signatures to the International Olympic Committee headquarters urging the IOC to speak out against Russia’s anti-gay laws. Andre Banks followed up the delivery with a surprise visit to the Russian Ambassador to the United Nation’s home in Manhattan, where the two debated outside while the media watched.