Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alekhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich of Pussy Riot (AP/Misha Japaridze)

Pussy Riot released from detention, leave police station wearing balaclavas and chanting anti-Putin song

"It is clear that in Russia activists are treated like terorrists," said one of the released members of Pussy Riot


Katie McDonough
February 18, 2014 8:44PM (UTC)

Hours after being detained by Russian police in Sochi, Pussy Riot members Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were released.

The two activists were detained along with 12-15 journalists and activists, allegedly for questioning in connection with a theft at the hotel where the group is staying.

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"It is clear that in Russia activists are treated like terrorists," said one of the released members of Pussy Riot, according to a report from USA Today. "Inside we were beaten because we didn't want to say anything without our lawyer. In Russia there's no law.

"We were stopped in our hotel, told that somebody had stolen some money, but they detained us for being activists. We did not protest, but they said we planned to."

Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova are in Sochi to perform "Putin will teach you to love the motherland," a protest song the group described as, "Dedicated to the corrupt Olympics, ecologist Yevgeny Vitishko and suppressed freedoms in Russia. Vitishko wrote a report by the Echo Watch North Caucasus group about environmental damage caused by Olympic construction. He was arrested in early February and charged with swearing in public."

On Monday, transgender rights activist Vladimir Luxuria, a former member of the Italian parliament, had her Olympic pass taken away from her and was removed from the Olympic park for wearing a rainbow-colored outfit and chanting, "It's OK to be gay."

As USA Today reports, International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams supported the action, saying the IOC does not tolerate protest on Olympic grounds.


Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2014 Sochi Olympics Maria Alyokhina Nadezhda Tolokonnikova Protest Pussy Riot Russia Vladimir Putin

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