It’s pretty fair to say that Donald Trump’s visit to the UK has dominated the news over the past few days – from him holding hands with Theresa May again <<shudder>> to walking in front of our dear old Queen, and kiss arsing with Piers Morgan, there was more than enough hairy tangerine fodder for the media to report on. Also gaining column inches and airwaves were protests around the country; the frankly hilarious Trump Baby balloon, and marches across London and other major cities, continuing up into Scotland as he enjoyed a round of golf with his son at his Turnberry golf course before flying off to Finland.
The laws around protesting in the UK are pretty relaxed and, if you follow the right protocol and keep it peaceful, public protests are a valid part of democracy and exercising the right to demonstrate displeasure. Of course there’s the policing of such protests, which comes at a cost to the taxpayer, but it seems that sometimes the police are in agreement with the protestors (the picture below has been hailed as the photograph of the weekend).
What about in countries where protesting about something important to you isn’t as welcome though? In Russia, where the World Cup reached its grand finale yesterday, the country has a terrible reputation for supporting the rights of the LGBTQ community and ranks 45 out of 49 European countries for gay rights by the ILGA-Europe, a network of European LGBT groups.
You can imagine then that a public protest wouldn’t go down too well.
Undeterred a group of activists has been subtly sharing a Gay Pride message throughout the duration of the tournament. Project Hidden Flag has seen six people from six countries (Spain, Holland, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia) dressed in different coloured shirts – which together, form the Pride flag.
But what can the Russian authorities do? They’re just football fans enjoying a football tournament, right?
The brilliance of this is it’s absolute subtlety and creativity. Sometimes a handful of protestors can be just as effective as thousands. Well done those people!
Coupled with Paddy Power’s donations to LGBTQ charities for every Russian goal scored, which culminated in a cool £170,000 total, and the message is clear. The Russian approach is wrong, and people are calling them out on it. Let’s hope for change in the future.
Thanks, as always, for reading. x