Putin says gays at Olympics must `leave children alone`
Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday said gays need not fear persecution at the Winter Olympic Games, but stood by a controversial ban on promoting homosexuality to children.
"We don`t have a ban on non-traditional sexual relations between people," Putin told a group of volunteers who will be working at the Games.
"We have a ban on the propaganda of homosexuality and paedophilia," Putin said in televised comments from host city Sochi, with three weeks to go until the event.
"We don`t ban anything and we won`t arrest anyone," he said. "Therefore you can feel calm, relaxed. But leave children alone please."
Gay rights activists around the world have called for a boycott of the Sochi Winter Olympics in protest against a law banning the dissemination of so-called "gay propaganda" to minors.
The president`s comments, reiterating a stance that suggests homosexuals prey on young people, were unlikely to appease critics of the ban.
United States President Barack Obama has pointedly announced he was sending an Olympic delegation that includes several openly gay sports figures, among them tennis legend Billie Jean King.
A senior cleric from the Russian Orthodox Church, which is closely allied to Putin, this month called for a national debate on returning a Soviet-era law repealed in 1993 that criminalised gay sex.
One of the volunteers, set to assist visitors at the Games, commented on their rainbow-coloured uniforms and asked if they could be breaching the ban on gay propaganda, the Interfax news agency reported.
Putin answered tersely that he did not design the uniform, the report said.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Congress workers blow up pigeons by blasting them inside rockets
- Beef row: Lalu Prasad Yadav contradicts his statements
- Lalu Yadav's son Tejasvi Yadav wants to change the face of Bihar education
- Indrani Mukerjea attains consciousness; is now out of danger
- News reporter Hemant Yadav shot by unidentified bikers
- Indrani Mukerjea regains consciousness, out of danger, says hospital
- Dadri lynching case: Sadhvi Prachi makes provocative remark, says beef-eaters deserve such fate
- Is Salman Khan - Aamir Khan friendship over?
- Modi must be punished, he has cheated people: Ram Jethmalani
- Was Giani Zail Singh planning to topple Rajiv Gandhi govt in 1987?