Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday banned rallies and demonstrations during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, a move that could be aimed at curbing dissent over the country’s anti-gay laws.
The Russian government newspaper on Friday published a Putin decree prohibiting “gatherings, rallies, demonstrations, marches and pickets” in Sochi between Jan. 7 and March 21. The Winter Olympics take place in February.
In June, Putin signed a law banning propaganda of “non-traditional sexual relations” and said the country will fine those holding gay pride rallies. The laws extend to athletes planning to participate in the games.
The crackdown has been lambasted by lawmakers in Washington. President Obama has said he’s “offended” by the laws and argued it was an opportunity for gay and lesbian athletes to change Russian “attitudes” towards them.