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Sochi: Gay rights activist says she was detained at Olympics by Russian police

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Since the arrest of gay rights activists during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics, it has been pretty quiet as far as protests surrounding Russia’s anti-gay law, but an Italian gay-rights activist claims she was detailed by police at the Olympics. According to a report by the Associated Press on Feb. 17, Russian police are denying the woman’s claim.

Vladimir Luxuria, who is known in Italy as a prominent transgender rights crusader, says she was stopped by police while carrying a rainbow flag that read “Gay is Ok.” Written in Russian, Luxuria says she wasn’t stopped for the flag, it was the writing on the flag that police has a problem with. She said they asked her not “to show things like that anymore.”

Although she was not charged, she was reportedly held for several hours before her eventual release, however, according to Sochi organizers, there was no report of the incident.

“We’ve talked to police and they have told us there is no record whatsoever to any detention or arrest,” Sochi organizing committee spokeswoman Alexandra Kosterina said on Monday.

A duty officer at the police station also denied having any Italian national in custody. What makes Luxuria’s claim even more perplexing is that an owner of Sochi’s main gay club said she was at the club Sunday night “enjoying herself.”

Although the incident isn’t on record, it is common for protesters who are arrested during unauthorized rallies to let go without paperwork being done. Luxuria did have one person who backed up her story. Her agent, Fabio Saccani, confirmed her story with the AP, claiming that the police took his client away after she attempted to grab back her flag, which was confiscated by the police.

Up until Monday, no major protests have taken place even in protest zones set up by Russian organizers.

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