General News

Arrested Russian punks were planning Sochi protest

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Feb 18, 2014 | 9:02am EST

Pussy Riot rockers Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina were arrested by police in Russia on Tuesday (18Feb14) just hours ahead of a planned protest performance at the Winter Olympics. The two women, who were released from prison in December (13) from a two-year sentence for protesting against President Vladimir Putin at a church in Moscow, were held on an allegation of theft from a hotel but later freed without charge. In a determined bid to relaunch their political activism, they had headed to Sochi, Russia on Sunday (16Feb14), where the Winter Olympics have been taking place under the shadow of tension over the country's gay rights laws. They planned to join up with other Pussy Riot members and stage a protest against the leader by performing their new song Putin Will Teach You How to Love the Motherland, but they were arrested along with other activists and several journalists. Tolokonnikova alleges she and Alekhina were grilled by security service officials on Monday (17Feb14) and have been under surveillance since arriving in the region. In a post on Twitter.com, she writes, "We are in Sochi in order to carry out a Pussy Riot action. The song is called, Putin will teach you how to love the motherland". She and Alekhina were among a group of 10 activists and journalists who were reportedly arrested by Sochi police on Tuesday. The two Pussy Riot members were released after several hours, and a police spokesman said, "A survey in connection with the theft at the Hotel Adler is completed, there is no claim against those questioned."

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