Italian transgender former MP arrested over rainbow protest in Sochi
A transgender Italian politician and LGBT campaigner has reportedly been arrested in Sochi for demonstrating against Russia’s anti-gay laws.
Vladimir Luxuria – a former member of the Italian Parliament – was allegedly arrested on Sunday after she was seen holding a rainbow flag saying “Gay is OK” in Russian.
Luxuria posted on Twitter before the arrest: “I’m in Sochi. Regards with the colors of the rainbow, in the face of Putin!”
Olympic organisers said they had no information of the incident.
“We’ve talked to police and they have told us there is no record whatsoever to any detention or arrest,” Sochi organising committee spokeswoman Alexandra Kosterina said.
A duty officer at the central police station in Sochi told the Associated Press that they have never had an Italian national in custody.
A spokesman for the Italian foreign minister said he could not comment on reports of the arrest, but that the Italian consulate in Moscow had staff in Sochi who were looking into what had happened.
It was later reported that Luxuria had been released.
It is thought she will attend a hockey game wearing rainbow colours.
International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams said: “We hope that the Games will not be used as a platform for demonstrations.”
Luxuria was the first transgender person ever to be elected at the Italian Parliament, where she served as an MP for the Italy’s Communist Party from 2006 to 2008.
More: anti-gay laws, David Cameron, Europe, G20, Italy, Moscow, putin, Russia, Russia, sochi olympics, Sochi Winter Olympics, Sochi Winter Olympics 2014, St Petersburg, Stephen Fry, Trans, Transgender, Vladimir Putin, Winter Olympics, Winter Olympics 2014