Russian police arrested Vladimir Luxuria, a former Italian MP and current transgender rights activist, outside Shayba Arena in Sochi this week for wearing a giant headdress and rainbow outfit to an Olympic hockey game.
According to the AP, Luxuria had been wandering around Olympic Park on Monday attracting onlookers and entertaining several photo ops. The reception to Luxuria’s glamorous getup was largely positive, save one group of Russians who yelled trans slurs to television cameras filming the spectacle.
In an interview with with the AP, Luxuria says she was whisked away by security guards at a ticket inspection barrier (she did have a ticket to enter the arena) and dumped about ten minutes later in the countryside:
I was very, very afraid this time because the first time they said, ‘It’s OK for the first time, don’t do it again for the second time.’ So, this time I was a little bit afraid. But they just left me outside, in the country, there, outside and that’s it.
They don’t say anything. They just were people who had to do this and they did it.
Today, IOC spokesman Mark Adams released a statement defending Luxuria’s removal from the scene:
“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.”
Luxuria reportedly left the country this morning.