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Russia's anti-gay laws spark protests on eve of Olympic Games

The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics will kick off against the backdrop of tense debate over Russia’s controversial laws on homosexuality.

Dozens of gay rights activists rallied outside the Russian embassy in Toronto on Thursday night calling on the big Olympic sponsors like Coca-Cola, McDonalds and Visa to speak out against Russia’s law restricting gay-rights activities.

Cities across Canada, including Toronto and Vancouver, will be showing their support for gay rights by flying rainbow flags outside city landmarks.

The protest has been organized in at least 19 cities around the world, including London, Paris and Jerusalem.

In Toronto, there is an online petition with 3,000 signatures in favour of lighting up the CN Tower in rainbow colours.

Other cities across Canada including Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa and St. John’s, have decided to fly the gay pride flag for the duration of the games. Montreal’s Olympic Stadium will glow in rainbow hues on Friday.

Google has added its voice by updating its iconic search page logo to depict illustrations of athletes skiing, sledding, curling and skating against a rainbow-coloured backdrop.

With files from The Associated Press