LGBT-activist Pavel Lebedev was detained with rainbow flag on the Olimpic torch relay in Voronezh pic.twitter.com/tOXO3HuTJy— MOZAIKA (@lgbt_mozaika) January 18, 2014
One gay Russian protester was apprehended and detained on Saturday after he unfurled a rainbow flag as the Olympic torch rally passed through his hometown of Voronezh, which lies more than 500 miles north of Sochi.
Photos allegedly show Olympic security personnel wrestling Pavel Lebedev to the ground before police arrived on the scene. Lebedev was still being questioned at the police station when he spoke to the Associated Press.
“Hosting the Games here contradicts the basic principles of the Olympics, which is to cultivate tolerance,” he said.
Lebedev was protesting Russia's recent law banning propaganda that encourages “non-traditional sexual relations.” The law, enacted this past summer, has drawn criticism from LGBT groups, advocacy groups and numerous officials whose countries are participating in the Games.
Speaking to Olympic volunteers earlier this week, Vladimir Putin said that gay people would be safe in Sochi, however, he asked that protesters just “leave kids alone.”
As a rather strong indictment of Putin's law, Barack Obama elected to include several openly gay athletes in the United States' Olympic delegation, despite recent criticism from an upper-level IOC member.
Rest assured, this won't be the last incident from what's sure to be a hyperscrutinized Olympics.