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September 26, 2017

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IOC defends Monday’s removal of gay activist


David Goldman / AP

Vladimir Luxuria, center, a former Communist lawmaker in the Italian parliament and prominent crusader for transgender rights, is led away by friends to attend a women’s ice hockey match after posing for photos on the Olympic Plaza at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. Luxuria was soon after detained by police upon entering the Shayba Arena.

SOCHI, Russia — The IOC says the Italian gay rights activist who was removed from Olympic Park was "escorted from there peacefully" and not detained.

Former Italian lawmaker Vladimir Luxuria was taken away by four plainclothes officers Monday night as she tried to enter an arena to watch a women's hockey game.

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 venue.

He said Olympic Park and the venues are not the right place for demonstrations. He added: "We would ask anyone to make their case somewhere else."

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