Activist: Russia Busted Me for 'Gay Is OK' Banner
Italian says she carried rainbow flag at Olympic Park
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2014 1:03 AM CST
Activist and former lawmaker Vladimir Luxuria delivers an address at a gay rights demonstration in Italy.   (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

(Newser) – A gay-rights arrest in Sochi? Prominent Italian activist Vladimir Luxuria says she was detained by Russian authorities for several hours after carrying a rainbow flag saying "Gay Is OK" at Olympic Park yesterday, the Guardian reports. Luxuria—who became Europe's first transgender parliamentarian in 2006—sent a text message reading, "Help me I am detained. I am alone," after the arrest, according to Italian gay rights groups.

Before her detention, Luxuria had told reporters that she had already visited Sochi's sole gay nightclub and her visit to Russia had only one purpose, the New York Times reports. "The goal, of course, is to protest against the law of homophobic Putin," she said. It's not clear whether she was charged with any offense before being released and authorities say they have no record of her detention, though activists in Russia are routinely detained before being released without charge, the AP notes. "We've talked to police and they have told us there is no record whatsoever to any detention or arrest," a Sochi organizing committee spokeswoman says.