Sochi To Set Up 'Protest Zones' For Demonstrators At 2014 Winter Olympics
Sochi "will have specific protest zones for demonstrators to air their views" when it hosts the 2014 Olympics in February, according to Karolos Grohmann of REUTERS. IOC President Thomas Bach said, "We welcome the announcement of the (Sochi) organizing committee that in Sochi there will be protest zones that will be established for people who want to demonstrate against something." Russia "has been under mounting criticism" over its human rights record. Protest zones were also created during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but "were located away from the venues and hardly used." For Sochi, however, it is "unclear how such protests could take place given the Russian Black Sea resort will be all but locked down for the Olympics for security reasons." Bach also said that the IOC "would inform athletes of their rights and obligations stemming from the Olympic charter," which bars political statements in Olympic venues and limits athletes promoting individual sponsors during the Games (REUTERS, 12/10).