Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued a decree banning any public protests or gatherings in and around Sochi during next year’s Winter Olympic Games.
The decree brought an immediate critical reaction from human and gay rights groups who had planned demonstrations at the games to protest against Russia’s anti-homosexual legislation.
The decree also sets up a number of security zones where access will be limited and checks reinforced.
It is the latest scandal to hit the games, as at the start of August Human Rights Watch protested at the harassment of journalists and human rights activists who had been investigating ill-treatment of immigrant workers, environmental damage, and inadequate compensation during the building of the Olympic complex.
Russia’s anti-homosexual law, passed at the end of June, bans what it describes as “gay propaganda” that can be accessed by minors. Activists says it effectively makes any public display or information relating to them illegal.