International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge said athletes at the Winter Games in Sochi would be forbidden under Olympic rules from protesting against Russian anti-gay laws.

In an interview with Tagesspiegel am Sonntag, Rogge referred to rule 50 of the Olympic Charter forbidding demonstrations at Olympic sites.

“That should not be seen as a sanction but as a means to protect athletes so that they are not put under pressure to use the Games as a platform,” he said.

Some rights activists have suggested a boycott or protests during the Sochi Games after Russian government officials confirmed that a law banning “gay propaganda” to minors would be enforced at the Games.

Rogge said it remained to be seen if and how the law was implemented, especially during the Games at the Black Sea resort.

“As a sports organisation we can continue to work to ensure that the Games take place without discrimination against athletes, officials, spectators and media,” he said.

The IOC had been given assurances from the highest government level that the legislation will not affect those participating at the Games or people visiting the event, he added.

“The International Olympic Committee is aware that sport is a human right and must be accessible to all, regardless of ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation,” he said.

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