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Gay rights protester reportedly detained at Sochi Olympic torch relay

Jan 18, 2014, 5:10 PM EDT

Pavel Lebedev AP

A man who unfurled a rainbow flag at the Olympic torch relay in Russia was detained and taken to a police station Saturday.

Pavel Lebedev was protesting growing homophobia in Russia in his hometown of Voronezh, according to The Associated Press. Voronezh is 560 miles north of Sochi.

Photos show Lebedev pulling out a flag and being wrestled to the snow by men described as Olympic security personnel by the AP.

“Hosting the Games here contradicts the basic principles of the Olympics, which is to cultivate tolerance,” Lebedev said in a phone interview while at the police station, according to the AP.

In June, Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a law banning the promotion of non-traditional sexual relations toward minors.

In August, the International Olympic Committee said it received assurances from the highest level of Russian government that the legislation will not affect those attending or taking part in the Games.

Protests at the Olympics will be allowed in designated areas if approved by Russian authorities.

Vladimir Putin to gay people in Sochi: ‘Leave children in peace, please’ 

  1. mattymaxxx - Jan 18, 2014 at 6:07 PM

    Thank you for reporting on this NBC.

  2. seanb20124 - Jan 18, 2014 at 9:51 PM

    Is it really worth it to get pounded by Russian security forces?

  3. robgmartin67 - Jan 18, 2014 at 11:46 PM

    People might want to note that the gentleman doing the detaining is wearing the official Olympic uniform of the Russian torchbearers which means they are representing the Olympics and NOT Russia per se. For visual proof of my claim look here:

    http://americablog.com/2014/01/olympics-staff-tackle-gay-protester-russia.html

    Note that the official torchbearers are wearing the same uniform as the gentleman who detained the protester which means the IOC is tacitly allowing official staff to detain people for the Russian police to arrest.

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