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US gay activists emboldened as Russian vodka, Sochi protests spread [Russia]

Author: RIA Novosti, Published on: 30 July 2013

...As boycotts of Russian vodka spread across the globe in protest over new Russian laws on homosexuality, US gay rights activists warn the campaign could be the first stage in a broader drive targeting Russia’s economy and image with the Sochi Winter Olympics six months away...Amid a stream of images and reports highlighting an official crackdown and vigilante violence against gays in Russia, US activists...called for a boycott of Russian vodka, a campaign that has centered on Stolichnaya...brand...The movement has morphed into a global groundswell, with gay bars in several US cities being joined by establishments in Canada, Britain and Australia in yanking Russian vodka from their shelves. At the same time, there has been a smattering of calls to boycott the Sochi games...[T]he lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community could take the momentum from the vodka boycotts and pressure corporations sponsoring the Sochi Olympics, including Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Procter & Gamble and Visa, said Nina Long, co-president of RUSA LGBT, a gay rights group made up of Russian-Americans in New York...A controversial law signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin banning the promotion of “non-traditional relationships” toward minors is worded too vaguely to hold it up as a clear demonstration of human rights violations, she said. [also refers to Caterpillar, Ernst & Young, Holiday Inn, Hyatt, Marriott, and Sheraton]

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Related companies: Caterpillar Coca-Cola EY (Ernst & Young) Holiday Inn (part of InterContinental Hotels) Hyatt Marriott McDonald's Procter & Gamble Sheraton (part of Starwood Hotels) Visa Inc.