Olympics staff assault gay protester in Russia for waving rainbow flag

Official Olympics representatives tackled a gay protester in Voronezh, Russia today for the “crime” of simply holding a rainbow flag as the Olympic flame went by.

UPDATE: AP confirms that it was “Olympic security personnel” in the photos.

Gay rights protester Pavel Lebedev was jumped on by agents of the Olympics, who were wearing an official Olympics uniform, with the Olympics rings on it and all, for holding up a rainbow flag along the road as the torchbearer went by.  Credit goes to Queer Nation’s Duncan Osborne for spotting the identity of Lebedev’s attacker.

Here’s an image of Lebedev right before his arrest, courtesy of Russia’s Straight Alliance for LGBT Equality:


And here’s Lebedev being abducted by an official representative of the Olympics – note that the other Russian security in the picture above are not wearing the Olympic logo.  But these are:


We’ve subsequently learned that that’s the Sochi 2014 logo on his leg, and right next to is another white hexagon that contains the Coca-Cola logo in every other photo I’ve been able to find of other Olympics security personnel. Here’s a bit larger version:


Note the uniform.  It’s the same uniform being worn by official “flame keepers,” as they’re called by the official Sochi 2014 Twitter account:


And here’s another photo, via RIA Novosti, making clear that the uniform is worn by the official Olympics torchbearers:


The International Olympic Committee has been bad enough in defending Russia’s rampant homophobic, but now the official Olympics staff is taking part in the gay-bashing.  Unbelievable.

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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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