Finnish sports minister to skip Sochi opening

AP News
Posted: Jan 17, 2014 4:59 AM

HELSINKI (AP) — Finland's sports minister says he will not attend the opening ceremony at the Sochi Winter Olympics for political reasons.

In an interview with national broadcaster YLE, Paavo Arhinmaki says politicians should not go to Sochi to "support human rights violations, restrictions to freedom of speech and the oppression of sexual minorities."

However, he said he might go to the games later to show support to Finnish athletes.

Activists worldwide have called for a boycott of the Sochi Games amid concerns for the environment, Russia's human rights record, and an anti-gay law.

Last week, Sweden sports minister Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth said she would not attend the opening ceremony, describing it as President Vladimir Putin's "propaganda stunt."