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Report: IOC removes gay rights activist from Olympics grounds

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer

According to an Associated Press report, the International Olympic Committee on Tuesday removed transgender rights activist from Olympic grounds.

Although removed "peacefully" from the area -- and not detained -- Italain activisit Vladimir Luxuria "was taken away by four unidentified men in a car with Olympic markings as she tried to enter an arena Monday night for a women's hockey game."

Luxuria reportedly had been in Olympic Park in the preceding hours, speaking out on gay rights issues and attracting a throng of media. Upon being removed from the area, she also had her Olympics pass/ticket confiscated.

Luxuria later told The Associated Press she was kept in the car for about 10 minutes, then released in the countryside after the men had taken her Olympic spectator pass. IOC spokesman Mark Adams said Tuesday that "what happened yesterday is still a little bit unclear," but said Luxuria had set out to demonstrate at the stadium.
"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.

The IOC has long prohibited movements or demonstrations of protest on Olympic grounds, particularly in open spaces and near venues. Luxuria is well-known in Italy, where she formerly served in the country's parliament.

A USA Today story notes Luxuria was "yelling, 'It's OK to be gay'" while milling about Olympic Park.

The official protest zone at the Sochi Games are in a town called Khosta, which is 13 kilometers north from the central hub of Olympic venues in Adler.

 
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