Official Complaint Against Russia Possible

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The mayor of Amsterdam, Eberhard van der Laan, Sunday called on the government to file a state complaint against Russia, for violation of human rights. He did so during the To Russia With Love concert, a demonstration for gay rights in Russia, at the Museum Square in the capital on Sunday evening. Van der Laan received a deafening applause.

According to the mayor, it is possible to submit a state complaint to the European Court in Strasbourg. A judge can then compare the Russian anti gay law with the Convention on Human Rights. Van der Laan, a former lawyer, suggested this option for the first time and did not discuss it yet with the government. The Ministry of  Foreign Affairs could not yet give a response on Sunday.

Russia, according to Van der Laan, is the only country where the rights of privacy are curtailed rather than expanded. The mayor wore in addition to the normal chain of office a multicolored rainbow necklace, that his predecessor Schelto Patijn wore at the Gay Games.

To Russia With Love concert

Gay lobby group COC Netherlands and Pride United wanted to be heard at the same time the Russian state organized a gala concert on Sunday night. They wanted to draw attention to the developments in Russia, where gay rights are under great pressure.

Initially they wanted to ban the gala concert. The municipality of Amsterdam, however, thought that would not be appropriate and offered room for a counter-action, which could be held from 6.00 to 8.00 pm. The two organizations decided to organize the To Russia With Love concert. The gala concert was organized to show  the beauty of Russian culture. The organizers of the counter concert emphasized that they didn’t want to disturb the by the Russian state organized concert.

It is estimated there were about 2,500 people gathered for the protest. Next to the stage was a large inflatable version of the Russian President Vladimir Putin.