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Thousands of people in Amsterdam turned out to demonstrate against a proposed anti-gay propaganda law in Russia, as President Vladimir Putin visited the Dutch capital on Monday.
The draft bill, which still needs a second reading and to be signed by Putin to become law, would see offenders handed a fine of 500,000 roubles (over 12,000 euros).
Euronews correspondent, James Franey said:
“The ban on so-called homosexual propaganda is just one step in what gay rights activists have called a state-sponsored witch hunt. Just last year, a Moscow court slapped a 100-year ban on the city’s Gay Pride march. It’s not gone down well with Amsterdam City Hall officials, who have taken an unusual step of protesting against a visiting head of state.”
On Putin’s arrival Rainbow flags were lowered to half-mast around the Dutch city and Amsterdam’s mayoral offices also took part.
One of Amsterdam’s deputy mayors told Euronews:
“We have a large gay community in Amsterdam and we want to make sure that in our city that everybody can live the way they want and be whoever they are and we want to make sure that everybody in the world knows that, also our partners.”
Before his arrival Putin spent the morning in Hanover with German Chancellor Angela Merkel who confronted him over Russia’s crackdown on NGOs, and Femen protesters there also attacked him on women’s rights.