Day of protests against Russia's 'anti-gay' laws

Human rights groups are holding a day of protests across the globe in a bid to highlight Russia's "anti-gay" laws. The Winter Olympics' opening ceremony gets under way on Friday.

Gay rights campaigners protest ahead of Sochi games

Gay rights campaigners have staged protests around the world against Russia's new anti-gay propaganda laws with less than forty eight hours to the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

In Sochi itself, gay people who live there claim they are forced to live secret lives to avoid persecution, as ITV News Sports Editor Steve Scott reports:

Read: Russia’s gay community do not feel welcome in their own country

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IOC President attacks politicians over Sochi boycott

The President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach has accused world leaders of using the Winter Olympics in Sochi as a political platform "on the backs of the athletes" and snubbing the Games without even being invited.

President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach. Credit: Christian Charisius/DPA

Read: Action man Putin poses with leopard ahead of Sochi Games

In a hard-hitting speech, Bach called out politicians for using the Olympics to make an "ostentatious gesture" serving their own agendas.

His comments appeared to be directed at US President Barack Obama and European politicians who have taken stands against Russia's law banning gay "propaganda" among minors.

The Olympics should not be "used as a stage for political dissent or for trying to score points in internal or external political contests," Bach said.

"Have the courage to address your disagreements in a peaceful direct political dialogue and not on the backs of the athletes," he said at a ceremony attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Read: Russia's gay community under attack at home

Global 'day of action' against Russia's gay rights record

Russia's "anti-gay" laws will be in the spotlight today with human rights groups holding a global day of action before the start of the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The Sochi Winter Olympics' opening ceremony is on Friday. Credit: Reuters

Read: Russia's gay community under attack at home

Protests against the country's gay rights record will be held in London, Sochi, Moscow and Rio de Janeiro, just a day before events get underway and only 48 hours ahead of the opening ceremony.

There will be a rally outside Downing Street today by group All Out, who will be calling on Olympic sponsors to speak out against homophobia in Russia.

Read: Action man Putin poses with leopard ahead of Sochi Games