Feb 17 - An Italian gay rights activist at the Winter Olympics in Sochi says she was arrested by Russian police for carrying a scarf bearing a pro-gay slogan. Paul Chapman reports.
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Transgender gay rights activist Vladimir Luxuria says she was arrested and held for several hours by Russian police in the Winter Olympics resort of Sochi.
The reason, says the Italian former lawmaker, was a rainbow scarf bearing a pro-gay slogan in the face of controversial new laws.
(SOUNDBITE)(English) VLADIMIR LUXURIA SAYING:
"I had this rainbow with Russian writing on it saying in Russian 'it's okay to be gay'. Just this and they wanted to keep it and I say 'no, I want it back' and I tried to get it back. They put me to the police station in, I think, the centre near Gorki Street, and I couldn't understand what's going on because they were talking in Russian and there was nobody talking in English."
Luxuria, seen here during a protest in Italy in 2008, said she was released about three hours later with a warning not to promote pro-gay slogans in public.
Despite the experience she's vowing to continue her pro-gay campaign in Sochi.
Moscow triggered an international outcry over legislation said to ban the propagandising of gay lifestyles to children.
Activists say it's fuelling anti-gay violence.
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