Stockholm Pride artist slams 'barbaric' Russia
Reposted from The Local: http://www.thelocal.se/49374/20130801/
Swedish artist Alexander Bard officially opened Scandinavia's biggest pride festival on Wednesday night, lambasting Russian president Vladimir Putin's reign of persecution against the gay, lesbian and trans community.
"The escalating persecution of homo-, bi- and transsexuals in Russia today under Vladimir Putin's rule is among the most cruel and most barbaric discrimination of a group of people that we have seen in Europe since the 1940s," Bard said at the opening ceremony in Stockholm.
He called on all Swedish athletes set to compete in the winter olympics in Sotchi, Russia next year to carry a rainbow flag during the opening ceremony.
"If you are scared to do that, then don't travel there to support this spectacle," Bard said.
The US ambassador to Sweden, Mark Brzezinski, also spoke at the opening ceremony, underscoring the importance of standing up for the rights of LGBT persons.