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CANADA, February 7, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – As the Winter Olympics in Sochi begin, a number of cities across Canada have decided to protest Russia’s recent ban on homosexual propaganda by flying rainbow flags.

The cities include Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, and St. John’s. Edmonton has plans to fly the rainbow flag as well, according to a tweet from Mayor Don Iveson, and the Quebec government will fly one outside Montreal’s Olympic Stadium.

New Democrat MPs also chose to don rainbow scarves and ties to caucus yesterday.

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“They wanted to send a message before the games to remember that LGBT rights are important here and everywhere,” said caucus spokesperson Veronique Breton to CBC News.

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Russia’s recent laws protecting children from homosexual propaganda have received heavy criticism from many Westerners who condemn them as “anti-gay” and a violation of human rights.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the laws at the end of June making it illegal to distribute information on “non-traditional sexual concepts” to children and to promote homosexuality, “same-sex marriage,” and Gay Pride parades throughout the Russian Federation.

Anticipating criticism at the time, Putin warned Western countries to mind their own business: “Some countries … think that there is no need to protect children from this. We do.”

In response to the criticism, last month the Russian government proposed changes that would see the law expanded to include the promotion of any sexual activity outside of natural marriage, rather than the current focus on homosexual activity.

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