Gay rights protester disrupts Met Opera gala

Associated Press
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In this photo provided by Queer Nation NY, anti-Putin protestors demonstrate in front of the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center, Monday, Sept. 23, 2013, in New York, where the Met held it's season-opening gala featuring soprano Anna Netrebko and conductor Valery Gergiev, two longtime supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin, who has upheld anti-gay laws passed by the Russian legislature, has denied that homosexuals face discrimination in Russia and said the law does not infringe on their rights. (AP Photo/Scott Wooledge, Queer Nation NY)

NEW YORK (AP) — The Metropolitan Opera's Russian-themed opening night gala was disrupted by a protester critical of that country's anti-gay law.

It happened Monday night as the lights dimmed for Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin." The protester shouted that President Vladimir Putin should end, in his words, his "war on Russian gays."

The New York Times ( ) reports that the man then turned his attention to the evening's Russian stars — Anna Netrebko and Valery Gergiev. He shouted that their "silence is killing Russian gays."

Some members of the audience tried to quiet him down.

Security guards asked four protesters to leave, and they did.

Other protesters stood outside the opera's Lincoln Center building. They held up a banner that said "Support Russian Gays."

They were protesting a new Russian law that bans "propaganda on nontraditional sexual relationships."


Information from: The New York Times,