Gay Russian protester arrested for unfurling rainbow flag at Olympic torch relay

Pavel Lebedev, of Voronezh, which is 560 miles north of Sochi, unfurled the rainbow flag as the torch passed through his hometown.

The Sochi Winter Olympics will begin on 7 February and have already caused an international outcry as Russian President Vladimir Putin in June signed a bill into law banning the “promotion of non-traditional relationships” to minors.

Photos posted by the Straight Alliance For LGBT Equality on Vkontakte, a Russian social media site, show the activist unfurling his rainbow flag on the road in front of the Olympic torchbearer before being wrestled to the snow by “Olympic security officials” as described by the AP.

In the wake of that backlash, Russian authorities have put limits on the right to protest during the Sochi Olympics, which will run until Feb. 23. A presidential decree initially banned all rallies in Sochi from Jan. 7 to March 21, but Putin later rescinded the ban to allow demonstrations at venues determined by the Interior Ministry.

Read more at, and Associated Press