Pussy Riot members arrested again during gay rights protest in Sochi

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Two of the members of the punk protest band Pussy Riot were reportedly detained and arrested once more on Tuesday, February 18, this time in Sochi, Russia.

Although released the same day, the band members posted messages and photos on Twitter to outline the details of their arrest to the public.

The two band members, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, were released from prison in December 2013, having served an almost two-year prison sentence for mocking Russia’s close alliance of church and state under Putin’s rule during a Moscow Cathedral performance.

The women said they had travelled to Sochi in order to perform a new song titled “Putin Will Teach You to Love the Motherland.” However, they were detained long before they had a chance to protest, reporting that they were just walking down the street when they were stopped.

Russian authorities claimed the arrest was made following a robbery in the hotel the women were staying at. However, Tolokonnikova’s husband, Pyotr Verzilov, disputed the claim during an interview outside the police station, saying the arrest was in fact made to interfere with the production of the new song.

“The song takes several days to make. If the police had some questions about the song, then they should have officially said that,” Mr. Verzilov said. “Instead, they are trying to charge Nadya, Masha and eight other members of the group with some sort of association with a theft at the hotel.”

The women wore their trademark colorful balaclavas as they left the jail. Speaking to the BBC, one member said the International Olympic Committee (IOC) continues to say Putin is a democrat, “so it’s clear it’s not a sports event.” Instead, Sochi has become a political event. “There are so many violations of human rights,” she added.

Since their release on December 23, they have told press that they intend to remain active in their fight against Putin’s regime, despite the constant overhanging threat of detainment. Monday was further proof of their determination.

According to Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina, their amnesty release in December was Putin’s attempt to appear broad-minded in the build up to the Winter Olympics; they said that they would have preferred to serve their remaining weeks in prison.

429Magazine

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