Approximately 5,000 people took to the streets of Berlin on Saturday to protest Russia's anti-gay laws, the HuffPost reports:
Organized by the Enough Is Enough group, the event was aimed at raising awareness of the human rights abuses taking place in Russia.
Many protesters at the afternoon event called for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi (scheduled to open Feb. 7, 2014). The march ended with a demonstration in front of the Russian Embassy on Berlin's Unter der Linden street, with the iconic Brandenburg Gate as a backdrop. Protesters held signs saying "Enough Is Enough," "Stop Homophobia" and "Putin Go Homo."
Demonstrators included people of all ages and seemed to receive positive responses from spectators.
Watch The Guardian's video of the event and interviews with protesters, AFTER THE JUMP...
In all the news around Russia's anti-gay pogrom, one comparison that gets brought up again and again is Putin to Hitler, Godwin's Law be damned. The comparison shows even greater similarity when set side-by-side with the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Over at AmericaBlog, John Aravosis provides a quick history lesson on how the IOC responded to Der Führer's campaign against the Jews.
In short, IOC chair Baillet-Latour was appeased by Hitler taking down anti-Jewish propaganda for the duration of the Olympics, but "asserted that the agitation against participation [in the Olympics] was exclusively a political campaign, citing as evidence the fact that none of the national Olympic committees now opposed having the games in Berlin."
And thus the maxim about being doomed to repeat history becomes ever more ominous.
President Obama is in Berlin today and gave a major speech at the Brandenburg Gate. Though the speech was wide-ranging in what it covered, he received huge cheers at the mention of gay and lesbian rights.
I'd suggest that peace with justice begins with the example we set here at home, for we know from our own histories that intolerance breeds injustice. Whether it's based on race, or religion, gender or sexual orientation, we are stronger when all our people -- no matter who they are or what they look like -- are granted opportunity, and when our wives and our daughters have the same opportunities as our husbands and our sons. (Applause.)
When we respect the faiths practiced in our churches and synagogues, our mosques and our temples, we're more secure. When we welcome the immigrant with his talents or her dreams, we are renewed. (Applause.) When we stand up for our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters and treat their love and their rights equally under the law, we defend our own liberty as well. We are more free when all people can pursue their own happiness. (Applause.) And as long as walls exist in our hearts to separate us from those who don’t look like us, or think like us, or worship as we do, then we're going to have to work harder, together, to bring those walls of division down.
I've cued it up to the portion transcribed above, AFTER THE JUMP...
Berlin's gay community has been rocked by the gruesome murder of a man missing since New Year's Day:
The BZ daily reported on Wednesday that the deceased, Carsten Srock, was found with his limbs expertly carved off with either an axe or large knife. The body pieces were then wrapped fastidiously in plastic bags and cling-wrap, and left to sit in the two-room flat for around three weeks. His head was found, partially cooked, by the police. Prosecutors on the case told the BZ they believe the victim was “murdered for sexual pleasure.”
Owner of the Mariendorf apartment is a 43-year-old man identified as Michael S., who was rescued by paramedics after trying to take his own life. The unemployed Berliner attempted to open a main vein, before calling the emergency services minutes after.
It was only upon the arrival of the paramedics that the gruesome truth began to come to light.
Berlin's Socialist Democrats have won the regional elections, which is good news for gay mayor Klaus Wowereit:
The success of the SPD means that Berlin's mayor, Klaus Wowereit, will remain in office for a third term. Wowereit, who became the first openly gay leader of a German state in 2001, is known for his popular touch and distinctive Berlin accent.
He has ruled in alliance with the Left Party for 10 years but could switch allegiance to the Greens, who made gains of 4.5 percent and polled 17.6 percent. The Left Party secured 11.7 percent of the vote. A coalition with the CDU would also be possible.
Deutsche Welle adds that the win also boosts Wowereit's chances for a run at the Chancellery in 2013.