General News

Russian punk stars whipped and beaten by security forces

By:
Feb 19, 2014 | 9:56am EST

Members of punk protest group Pussy Riot were violently whipped and beaten as they were tackled by members of Russia's security forces during a performance stunt in Sochi on Wednesday (19Feb14). The female rockers attempted to stage a pop-up show in the Olympic host city under a sign advertising the Winter Games, but their stunt was cut short when they were approached by a group of Cossack militia. The men grabbed the women and ripped their coloured masks from their heads. Maria Alekhina was attacked with a whip, along with a male photographer who was taking pictures of the performance. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who was previously jailed along with Alekhina for performing a protest song against Russian President Vladimir Putin, was violently knocked to the ground and whipped. Sickening footage of the incident, posted on YouTube.com, shows Tolokonnikova screaming and crying out in pain as the officers grapple with her. She attempts to continue singing the words to the group's song after clambering to her feet. Other members of the group were violently unmasked and the footage shows one bandmember being hit in the face as she tries to stand her ground. A guitar which was wielded by one of the group was removed and thrown in a trash bin, but later recovered as the bandmembers left the scene. The incident comes just a day after Tolokonnikova and Alekhina were arrested by police in Sochi on Tuesday (18Feb14) hours before a planned protest performance. They were reportedly questioned over an allegation of theft from a hotel, but were released without charge. The two women were previously sentenced to two years in jail for performing a protest song against Putin in a Moscow church. They were freed in December (13) as part of an amnesty.

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