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Around 400 people turned up to the rally opposing LGBT people in Chechnya – photo Iain Dalton

Around 400 people gathered in Leeds on Saturday 22nd April to rally in solidarity with LGBT people facing violence and imprisonment in Chechnya.

Michael Johnson, Leeds Socialist Party

Over the last month reports have circulated of imprisonment, torture and killing of gay men along with other groups of people deemed as threats by the Chechen government inspiring mass outcry all over the world.

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Michael Johnson reading out a message from Russian LGBT activists at the rally – photo Iain Dalton

In Leeds the rally called for support for those campaigning in Russia and Chechnya to support LGBT people there that are trying to flee the violence they face and also calling on our government to take action to support those trying to leave Chechnya.

But the rally also raised that the LGBT community in the UK must fight back against the Conservative government here; opposing their treatment of LGBT asylum seekers who have been deported back to countries where they face violence and death for not reading LGBT magazines or even because it is decided those people could stay in the closet and also opposing the huge impact of the conservatives austerity agenda.

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Socialist Party member Maddy Steeds addressing the rally on behalf of the Socialist Women and Non-Binary group – photo Tanis Belsham-Wray

The rally focused on the fact that the LGBT community gained rights because they gave the ruling classes riots: every step forward for LGBT people has come from them fighting for it and we need to continue that legacy to oppose not only the treatment of LGBT people in Chechnya but to fight for an end to LGBTphobia everywhere.

Sign the petition created by LGBT activists in Russia – https://www.change.org/p/russia-prosecutor-general-investigate-mass-murder-and-torture-of-lgbt-people-in-chechnya

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