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Former Italian lawmaker briefly detained in Sochi for displaying ‘Gay is OK’ banner

Sunday, February 16, 2014
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Update: Russian authorities say Vladimir Luxuria was never detained in Sochi. More here


SOCHI, Russia — A transgender activist and former member of the Italian Parliament was arrested and briefly detained by Russian authorities in Sochi after she reportedly held up a banner that read “Gay is OK,” according to the leader of an Italian gay rights group.

Vladimir Luxuria

Vladimir Luxuria

Vladimir Luxuria was arrested at the Olympic Park for allegedly violating the country’s anti-gay propaganda law, but was released with no charges filed, reported the Italian news agency ANSA.

Luxuria, 48, had announced her attention to stage a public protest at the entrance to the park in a series of text messages, according to Flavio Romani, president of Arcigay, an Italian gay-rights advocacy organization.

Romani said he had spoken to Luxuria by telephone from the police station where she said she had been detained, and again when she was released shortly after 3 a.m. local time in Sochi on Monday morning.

There has been no official confirmation by Russian authorities regarding her arrest.

Romani, who was in Italy, said that Luxuria planned to attend a hockey game Monday wearing the rainbow pride colors.

Earlier Sunday, she posted a photograph on Twitter of herself holding a rainbow-colored fan, with the message: “I’m in Sochi! Regards, with the colors of the rainbow, in Putin’s face!”

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