Italian arrested in Sochi for holding gay banner

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Vladimir Luxuria was arrested in Sochi for holding a 'gay is OK' banner. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP
09:46 CET+01:00
A former Italian MP was arrested at the Sochi Winter Olympics on Sunday for carrying a rainbow flag reading "gay is OK", the foreign ministry has said.

Vladimir Luxuria, who was a Communist Refoundation Party member of the Italian parliament, was arrested shortly after posting a photograph on Twitter, showing herself at the Olympic site with a rainbow umbrella and fan.

“In your face Putin!” she wrote, a reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s controversial law which criminalizes “promoting homosexuality”.

Luxuria was also carrying a flag with “gay is OK” written on it in Russian, which provoked her arrest, a spokesman for the Italian foreign ministry told The Local.

She was released overnight after consular staff intervened and is expected to now return to Italy, the spokesman said.

Luxuria, who lives exclusively as a woman but has not undergone a sex change, was the first openly transgender member of the European Parliament.

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