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Ellen Berg came to the Met not to hear the music, but for people on the street to hear him.

“We can only do symbolic things, but meanwhile gay people are afraid for their lives,” said Berg.

Over the last several months, several bars in New York City have thrown out some brands of vodka in protest of anti-gay laws in Russia. On this night, a group of protesters stood in front of Lincoln Center on the opening night of the Met opera. They protested Russian Opera participants inside who they believe support President Putin.

They protested while the music played. Some supported the group. Others were appalled.

In an Op Ed, the general manager of the Met addressed the anger, saying:

“We stand against the significant human rights abuses that take place every day in many countries. But as an arts institution, the Met is not the appropriate vehicle for waging nightly battles against the social injustices of the world.”

To protestors like Berg who knows what discrimination feels like  – it’s worth a  battle.