Huffpost Gay Voices

Olympic Committee Defends Transgender Activist Vladimir Luxuria's Removal From Sochi Arena

Posted: Updated:
A father and children look on as Vladimir Luxuria, left, a former Communist lawmaker in the Italian parliament and prominent crusader for transgender rights, speaks out about gay rights while walking through the Olympic Plaza at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. Luxuria was soon after detained by police upon entering the Shayba Arena to attend a women's ice hockey match. (AP Photo/David Goldman) | ASSOCIATED PRESS

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — 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.

"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.

Also on HuffPost:

15 Things To Know About Being Transgender By Nicholas M. Teich
Share this
Current Slide

Suggest a correction

Around the Web

Italian activist Vladimir Luxuria's protest at Sochi recalls '80 Moscow ...

Sochi 2014: Gay former Italian MP Vladimir Luxuria detained in ...

Transgender Italian held for second time in Sochi | Reuters

IOC defends Monday's removal of gay activist

Gay activist claims she was detained at Sochi Olympics | Fox News

Gay-rights activist detained at Olympic Park | Concord Monitor

'Italian activist Vladimir Luxuria's protest at Sochi recalls '80 Moscow ...

Top Medal Winners
1 Russia 13 11 9
2 United States 9 7 12
3 Norway 11 5 10
4 Canada 10 10 5
5 Netherlands 8 7 9
6 Germany 8 6 5
Latest Medal Results
Ice Hockey - Men
Bobsleigh - Four-man
United States
Cross-Country - Men's 50km Mass Start Free
Russia - Alexander Legkov
Russia - Maxim Vylegzhanin
Russia - Ilia Chernousov
© STATS LLC 2014.