Members of Russian band Pussy Riot Arrested at Sochi Suburb McDonald’s

Two members of feminist punk band Pussy Riot and several people in their group were arrested at a McDonald’s in Adler, a suburb of Sochi. McDonald’s is sponsor of the Sochi Winter Olympics. They have since been released.

Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were

were walking down a street accompanied by the journalists, three other members of Pussy Riot who use pseudonyms, and two local activists, when a group of about 10 plainclothes police approached them and asked for their identification, said “Tank,” one of the anonymous bandmates. The police said they suspected Tolokonnikova may have had something to do with a theft in the hotel where the band members were staying…

The band members were in Sochi to protest what they said was the lack of freedom of speech and to record a song in English critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin and called “Putin will teach you to love the homeland.”

Yahoo Sports reports:

Alyokhina, 25, said they and others detained with them were questioned without lawyers present, and Tolokonnikova said that police had used violence during questioning inside the police station.

“They dragged me across the floor of the police station assembly hall office by my face, they twisted my arms and threw me to the floor. Putin will teach you to love the motherland!” the 24-year-old said on her Twitter microblog.

USA Today adds:

Attorney Alexander Popkov, who represents the two Pussy Riot band members, told USA TODAY Sports that the duo were beaten by police before his arrival at the station. Tweeted Tolokonnikova, via a translation: “Lawyer came, the police became more affectionate.”

Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were released from prison just before Christmas 2013 under amnesty, which felt like a Putin PR move designed to improve Russia’s image before the Olympics. They had been sentenced to years imprisonment for  “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” after a protest performance in Moscow’s Russian Orthodox church, Cathedral of Christ the Savior, in March 2012.

Source: http://arts.firedoglake.com/2014/02/18/sochi-pussy-riot-members-arrested-at-mcdonalds/

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