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Hayley Atwell leads gay rights protest at London theatre

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Aug 14, 2013 | 10:18am EDT

British actress Hayley Atwell led the cast of her London play in a gay rights protest during the opening night curtain call on Tuesday (13Aug13). The Captain America: The First Avenger actress and her co-stars held up placards emblazoned with the words 'To Russia, With Love' as they took their bows during The Pride's launch night at the Trafalgar Studios. Atwell insists the play, which focuses on a gay love triangle, was the perfect vehicle to stage a protest against Russia's treatment of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. She says, "We had this lovely relaxed gentle protest.. (The placards) say, 'To Russia, With Love.' We don't want to add to the hatred by saying something negative about (Russia's President Vladimir) Putin. But it does make an impact. It is a very heated time for the gay community. Doing this play, I realise how far we've come but how far we've got left. There are still horrendous statistics about homophobic attacks in this country." Russia has hit headlines in recent days after British actor Stephen Fry wrote an open letter calling for the upcoming Winter Olympics in the country to be moved or boycotted over the gay rights issues.

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