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Russia to Create 'Protest Zones' for Sochi Olympic Games

In addition to the announcement that the IOC will send a letter to athletes and participants at the Sochi Games reminding them to refrain from engaging in demonstrations, political gestures, or protests while in Russia, the IOC said Russia will be creating "protest zones" for people to do just that, the L.A. Times reports:

BachThe announcement came during a news teleconference held by International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach.

"This was under discussion with the IOC for quite some time," Bach said. "This is a measure we welcome so that everybody can express his or her opinion."

The Games in Sochi have become particularly controversial because of Russia's recently enacted anti-gay legislation threatening prosecution of anyone who, in the presence of minors, promotes "nontraditional sexual relations."

Critics worldwide have condemned the law as a violation of the right to free expression, saying the measure effectively bans events such as gay rights parades. Bach did not offer any details about the size or location of the zones.

He said Russian officials have assured him protesters will not face negative consequences. "I think this is the purpose of these protest zones," Bach said. "This is what we’ve been discussing with Russian authorities."

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Comments

  1. What a ridiculous, cowardly country.

    Posted by: Mark | Dec 11, 2013 11:31:30 AM


  2. protest GHETTOS !

    Posted by: Frogview | Dec 11, 2013 11:33:30 AM


  3. More meaningless crap from Russia and those moronic f***ers of the IOC.

    These protest zones / gulags will be in Siberia and will not be visible to anyone.

    Anyone who attends these games - spectators / athletes / commentators has an obligation to protest these foul laws whereever they see fit.

    Failure to do so is collaboration.

    Thomas Bach and the IOC are collaborating scum.

    Silence = Death you know.

    Posted by: MaryM | Dec 11, 2013 11:33:56 AM


  4. Most of Russia's Protest Zones are called 'Jail".
    Protest isn't some regulated differences of opinion; it is what it says on the can - a Protest against the dumb law that Fascist Putin has enacted.
    The "Protest" must be everywhere, visible to all, disruptive and declamatory - not sheepish.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Dec 11, 2013 11:33:56 AM


  5. The coverage of the opening ceremony from NBC needs to be from this protest zone.

    The whole idea of a protest zone is to hide all visible signs of protests.

    No can do Bach and the IOC. You can shove your protest zone up your ass.

    Protest against Russian bigotry must be everywhere.

    Posted by: MaryM | Dec 11, 2013 11:38:58 AM


  6. The U.S. federal and state governments do the same thing during mega events. I clearly remember going by the official 'protest zone' during the Democratic National Convention in Boston 2004, it was pathetic. Same thing occurs at the Republican conventions.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Dec 11, 2013 11:39:29 AM


  7. The athletes are prohibited by the Olympic charter to engage in any type of demonstration or protest, or they could have their medals revoked. I would like to see solidarity with athletes stepping forward and sacrificing their medals in protest.

    Posted by: NotSafeForWork | Dec 11, 2013 12:02:24 PM


  8. A medal won in Sochi where the athlete does not protest these laws is not an honor. It is a disgrace.

    Posted by: MaryM | Dec 11, 2013 12:05:33 PM


  9. Everything's already been said: "Please protest here where no-one can see you and your demonstration will have absolutely no effect"... They must think people are idiots.

    Posted by: Jack Ford | Dec 11, 2013 12:06:41 PM


  10. This protest zone will not be covered by Russian media. Doing so would be breaking the law.

    Protest needs to be spontaneous, unannounced and most importantly live so it will be seen by the Russian public.

    Posted by: MaryM | Dec 11, 2013 12:08:24 PM


  11. This protest zone will not be covered by Russian media. Doing so would be breaking the law.

    Protest needs to be spontaneous, unannounced and most importantly live so it will be seen by the Russian public.

    Posted by: MaryM | Dec 11, 2013 12:08:24 PM


  12. @ratbastard - The "protest zone" was actually created by Bill Clinton in 1999. Originally named a "free speech zone", they were set up during the WTO ministerial in Seattle so that delegates would not have to suffer the indignity of seeing democracy in action.

    Posted by: Gregory In Seattle | Dec 11, 2013 12:17:56 PM


  13. @NotSafeForWork - Correction: the Olympic Charter prohibits propaganda. Unfortunately, the IOC has ruled that any mention of human rights is propaganda.

    Posted by: Gregory In Seattle | Dec 11, 2013 12:19:09 PM


  14. Protest zones were allowed by a SCOTUS decision to be highly restrictive in nature based on "risk management" assessments by administration officials. There's no judicial oversight re such zones in the US anymore. You'd have to get arrested to challenge the zone law now, or have a permit denied by the administration. I'm assuming Russia took the idea from the US.

    Posted by: anon | Dec 11, 2013 12:27:05 PM


  15. Hey it can't be all bad. I mean, I wouldn't be surprised if the provided protest zones include free special showers and large ovens in which to prepare food.....

    Posted by: Joey Y | Dec 11, 2013 12:33:51 PM


  16. @gregory, actually, considering the fact that a lot of those protesters were exceedingly violent, destroying businesses and homes (the same thing happened here in Chicago), I wouldn't whine about it being democracy in action. It was containing anarchy.

    Posted by: Joey Y | Dec 11, 2013 12:35:34 PM


  17. Just don't go to Russia, poor attendance should send the message.

    Posted by: Rafael | Dec 11, 2013 12:53:03 PM


  18. These "prtest zones" are set up so "conscientious" folks can take limited action within the perimeters that Putin's goons have drawn, and thus cover their trifling collaborator asses when they're accused of having collaborated! So, this is what civil disobedience has become in the 21st century: Resistance managed by the oppressor. First the Occupy Movement, and now this. Pathetic!

    Posted by: Stuffed Animal | Dec 11, 2013 1:03:40 PM


  19. This is just sad.

    Posted by: Paul R | Dec 11, 2013 1:10:36 PM


  20. Aren't they actually setting up no protest zones, it's just what's left over and where can be labeled "protest zones".

    Posted by: Hey Darlin' | Dec 11, 2013 1:11:06 PM


  21. @NotSafeForWork: the obvious solution is that, after completing their events (and in nearly all cases not winning any medals), the ones who want to can protest, and there is nothing of any consequence that the IOC can do about that - you can't take back a medal that someone hasn't won.

    Posted by: Bill | Dec 11, 2013 1:44:20 PM


  22. It's a win for freedom when even authoritarian governments like that of Czar Putin are feeling the heat and back peddling.

    Posted by: andrew | Dec 11, 2013 2:58:50 PM


  23. @Joey Y - I live in Seattle, less than a mile from downtown. Some of the protests came up Capitol Hill, past my apartment building where I could see them from my balcony. I was involved in several of the protests at the ministerial, and I was shot at by the police because my complying with a "return home" order took me in a direction they did not want me to travel in. Please understand that I am speaking from experience when I call your comment bullcrap.

    The first act of violence was initiated by the police, who tear gassed a peaceful sit-in in front of the Paramount Theater where a large meeting was taking place. The tear gas -- considered illegal chemical weapons under the Geneva Conventions and other international treaties -- was used on children. Actual violence and vandalism from protesters was committed by a very small cabal of anarchists who, despite plenty of video evidence to their identities, were suspiciously never prosecuted by authorities (can you say COINTELPRO? How about agents provocateurs?) Those responsible for the violence were roundly denounced by the organizations behind the protests. And there is quite a bit of video evidence showing actual protestors protecting property and restraining instigators until police could be summoned.

    Much of the so-called violence that was shown on national news was nothing more than artfully spliced video designed to make legitimate complaints and peaceful protest look like a war zone. I was there, up close and personal, and I can assure you that the media lied its collective ass off.

    Posted by: Gregory In Seattle | Dec 11, 2013 4:06:40 PM


  24. Is this like the "protest zones" that were created for those against ex-pres G W Bush, two miles away from the White House, because he was kept in a bubble to ease his sensitve and artistic side.

    At least they're acknowledging the problem, or are afraid of the possible effects, which is more than they usually do (completely ignoring the issue while rampaging subversively behind the scenes).

    I keep feeling (I soncerely hope) that there will be a positive outcome from all this.

    Posted by: tinkerbelle | Dec 11, 2013 4:10:45 PM


  25. Sounds good. Like "Speaker's Corners" in London or The Boston Commons in Boston.

    Posted by: andrew | Dec 11, 2013 5:04:34 PM


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