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Olympic committee defends Monday’s removal of gay rights activist

Tuesday, February 18, 2014
David Goldman, APVladimir Luxuria, a former Communist lawmaker in the Italian parliament and prominent crusader for transgender rights, is detained by police after entering the Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, in Sochi, Russia.

David Goldman, AP
Vladimir Luxuria, a former Communist lawmaker in the Italian parliament and prominent crusader for transgender rights, is detained by police after entering the Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, in Sochi, Russia.

SOCHI, Russia — The International Olympic Committee on Tuesday defended the removal of an Italian gay rights activist from a Sochi arena, saying she was “escorted from there peacefully” and not detained.

Former Italian lawmaker Vladimir Luxuria was taken away by four unidentified men in a car with Olympic markings as she tried to enter an arena Monday night for a women’s hockey game.

Luxuria, dressed in rainbow colors, had been walking around Olympic Park for nearly two hours, accompanied by a scrum of reporters. Most of the Russian spectators seemed clueless about the gay rights message and some approached her to take a picture, thinking she was a carnival character.

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 her Olympic spectator pass.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams said Tuesday that “what happened yesterday is still a little bit unclear,” but said Luxuria had set out to demonstrate at the stadium.

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“I know her stated aim to demonstrate in the venue and I believe after a couple of hours when she finally got to the venue I think she was escorted from there peacefully, not detained,” Adams said.

He said Olympic Park and the venues are not the right place for demonstrations, and added: “We would ask anyone to make their case somewhere else.”

The IOC has strict rules against protests or propaganda during competitions, outlawing any demonstrations in Olympic venues. The IOC contends that allowing someone to display messages not tied to the games would encourage others to use the Olympics for their own gain.

Earlier in the games the IOC reprimanded athletes for wearing armbands and stickers to commemorate the dead.

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26 more reader comments:

  1. so guess which country i’m never visiting…

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 3:42pm
  2. Because she has rainbows on her, she’s affecting the children. Really Russia?? Like..I don’t see how she’s being too gay in public

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 3:43pm
  3. The IOC needs to stop supporting Russian bigotry.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 3:43pm
  4. Anyone who thinks the U.N The IOC or any of the “Global” leadership gives a shit about us or civil rights need to look at history and wake up and smell the genocides

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 3:43pm
  5. I already knew I wasn’t visiting there…A bunch of drunk terrible driving hateful religious freaks. In soviet Russia (insert joke here).

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 3:45pm
  6. Russia has no intend on changing their laws any time soon so there’s no need to protest the Olympics when you know you will be arrested.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 3:46pm
  7. Please select the photo and “Like” directly on the Bride.ca Facebook page to show your support!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 3:52pm
  8. Stupid. I’m not sure I even support the olympics anymore.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 3:52pm
  9. Fuck the IOC. They only care about money not people.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 3:52pm
  10. Interesting how the IOC seem to be picking and choosing from their rules

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 3:55pm
  11. They supported the nazis, what’s different now.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 3:56pm
  12. What an great women ♥♥♥, in a poor backward country!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 3:57pm
  13. I am gay and I think the new laws in Russia an a few other countries are insane. That said though, I don’t think the Olympics is the right place to protest.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:03pm
  14. the Olympics are finally totally n utterly corrupted!
    No country should ever host the games unless they issue an apology for their hate crimes n their assistance in them..

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:07pm
  15. the Olympics are finally totally n utterly corrupted!
    No country should ever host the games unless they issue an apology for their hate crimes n their assistance in them..

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:07pm
  16. Fuck the IOC. The Olympics as a shining beacon are over. They are just one more tawdry jewel in a corporate crown.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:08pm
  17. Get a grip on reality Russia will you already!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:15pm
  18. The IOC has apparently forgotten, yet again, what the Olympics are supposed to be about.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:34pm
  19. The IOC is a bunch of spineless jellyfish.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:39pm
  20. There goes my watching the Olympics!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:42pm
  21. Proving that the IOC has been bought off by the Russians.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:44pm
  22. Fuck the Olympic committee!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:45pm
  23. IOC once again up Putin’s ass.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:53pm
  24. To hell with the IOC

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 5:00pm
  25. F the IOC…they don’t even slightly represent what they say they do…They are as guilty as Russia of hatred.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 5:00pm
  26. Booooo!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 5:05pm