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Gay rights activist detained at Olympics

SOCHI, Russia — An Italian activist shouting "It's okay to be gay" and dressed in a rainbow-colored outfit and large headdress was detained Monday as she entered an arena to watch an Olympic hockey game.

Vladimir Luxuria, a former Communist lawmaker in the Italian parliament who has become a prominent transgender rights crusader and television personality, was stopped by four men and then driven away by police in a car with Olympic markings.

Luxuria later told the Associated Press she was kept in the car for about 10 minutes, then released in the countryside after the men had taken away her Olympic spectator pass. She said she was leaving Russia today.

"They don't say anything. They just were people who had to do this and they did it," she said.

Luxuria said she was detained on Sunday evening by Russian police who told her she should not wear clothes with slogans supporting gay rights. Police denied detaining her.

Last year, the Russian parliament passed a law banning "propaganda" of nontraditional sexual relations among minors. Russian organizers had set up a protest zone leading to the Olympics, but no major protests had taken place. On Monday, however, a handful of small protests were reported.

Gay rights activist detained at Olympics 02/17/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 12:47am]
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