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Chicago Protest Backs Iraqi Gays

GLN permalink posted May 18, 2009

Some 20 protesters gathered at Chicago's LGBT Center on Halsted to show solidarity with Iraqi gays and others targeted around the world for their LGBTQ identity. IDAHO, International Day Against Homophobia, began in Europe several years ago as an effort to internationalize attention to and action against antigay violence.

Originally planned for Barack Obama's Hyde Park home, the protest was moved to the Center on Halsted following the city's revocation of a permit it claimed was issued "in error" due to a state law prohibiting protest at a private residence of a public official. This in spite of the fact that other protests have occurred near the Obama residence and that a security barrier prevents demonstrations in front of the house in any case.

Speakers denounced United States government silence in the wake of a virtual pogrom leveled against Iraqi men perceived to be gay. Although US officials including President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton and House Speaker Pelosi have all made recent trips to US occupied Iraq, none has called out the Iraqi puppet regime for its complicity in the antigay violence.

Also announced at the protest was the news that GLN co-founder, Andy Thayer, is uninjured and has been released from police custody in Moscow; and soon to return to Chicago. Andy had gone to the Russian capital to show solidarity with LGBTs in the region who attempted to stage a Slavic Pride demonstration. Although the attempt again ended in a cop attack and some 40 arrests, the resulting massive press coverage of police repression will further isolate the Russian regime from the rest of Europe.

The protest was organized by the Gay Liberation Network, and the event was covered by Chicago's LGBT press and several mainstream press outlets including WGN radio and TV.


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