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People Love These Activists Who Secretly Took Rainbow Photos In Russia

"It's been an amazing reaction, and feeling like part of something that could hopefully make change."

Posted on July 9, 2018, at 11:12 a.m. ET

A digital ad agency from Spain called LOLA MullenLowe recently teamed up with FELGTB, Spain's federation for LGBT rights, to take secret pride photos in Russia during the World Cup.

Hidden Flag / Via LOLA MullenLowe

The photos have gone viral. The idea behind the project, called Hidden Flag, was to send a group of people from different countries to the World Cup, all dressed in different-colored football shirts.

in russia, the act of displaying the LGBT flag in public can get you arrested. so these 6 activists from latin america resorted to creativity: wearing uniforms from their countries' football teams, they turned themselves into the flag and walked around moscow with pride. 🏳️‍🌈 https://t.co/7Q2HgLemzh

Via LOLA MullenLowe

The selection of shirts made it so that when the models stood in the correct order, the jerseys formed the pride flag.

LOLA MullenLowe / Via LOLA MullenLowe

The project, according to the agency's website, is meant to be a stand against Russia's anti-LGBT policies.

Currently, displaying the pride flag in Russia can lead to fines and even arrest."When Gilbert Baker designed the rainbow flag in 1978, he did so to create a symbol and an icon for the LGTB community," the website says. "Unfortunately, 40 years later, there are still countries in which homosexuality is persecuted, sometimes even with jail sentences, and in which the rainbow flag is forbidden. Russia is one of these countries."
Hidden Flag / Via LOLA MullenLowe

Currently, displaying the pride flag in Russia can lead to fines and even arrest.

"When Gilbert Baker designed the rainbow flag in 1978, he did so to create a symbol and an icon for the LGTB community," the website says. "Unfortunately, 40 years later, there are still countries in which homosexuality is persecuted, sometimes even with jail sentences, and in which the rainbow flag is forbidden. Russia is one of these countries."

Sara Okrent, LOLA MullenLowe's head of communications, told BuzzFeed News that the organization wanted to come up with a safe way to protest Russia's policies.

Hidden Flag / Via LOLA MullenLowe

"Russia is a terrible place for LGBTI people and we wanted it to be safe for the volunteers," she said.

Hidden Flag / Via LOLA MullenLowe

They came up with an idea that would allow volunteers to get in and out the country before the project was released. People were found through friends at the company and email callouts.

Hidden Flag / Via LOLA MullenLowe

"It's been an amazing reaction, and feeling like part of something that could hopefully make change," she said. She added that she hoped the project would not only enact change in Russia, but among football fans, too.

Hidden Flag / Via LOLA MullenLowe

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