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Dublin: 8 °C Monday 24 November, 2014

Pussy Riot members among 200 detained after courthouse protest

Protesters had gathered outside a court today to condemn the prison sentences handed down to seven people who took part in a 2012 protest against Vladimir Putin.

Member of the Pussy Riot punk group, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, center, speaks to a police officer outside Zamoskvoretsky District Court in Moscow, Russia.
Member of the Pussy Riot punk group, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, center, speaks to a police officer outside Zamoskvoretsky District Court in Moscow, Russia.
Image: AP PHOTO

TWO RELEASED MEMBERS members of protest punk band Pussy Riot, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, were among those detained today in Russia following a courthouse protest. The members tweeted pictures of themselves from the police van.

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Nadezhda Tolokonnikova in Manezhnaya Square today. (PA Image)

Protesters had gathered outside a court today to condemn the prison sentences handed down to seven people who took part in a 2012 protest against Vladimir Putin.

The high-profile case has become a symbol of the harsh crackdown on opposition protests since Putin returned to the Kremlin.

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Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, center right, and Maria Alekhina, center left, outside a court room in Moscow today. (PA Image)

Guilty

The eight in the dock were found guilty of taking part in mass riots and hitting policemen at a rally against Putin’s inauguration to a third term as president.

Riot police detained over two hundred supporters who gathered outside the court today, some shouting slogans such as “Freedom” and “One for all, all for one!”

Most were released shortly after arriving at police stations.

People later gathered for an evening protest on Moscow’s central Manezhnaya square but the entire area was cordoned off with heavy police presence and interior troops, forcing people to crowd on sidewalks.

Several hundred stood near the parliament building nearby as police told them to leave through a loudspeaker and detained people in the crowd, an AFP correspondent said.

Police said 300 were “trying to violate public order” and 70 people had to be detained.

Amnesty International condemned the detentions, saying, “the Russian authorities’ rampant violation of freedom of expression and assembly shows no sign of letting up”.

The detention of the Pussy Riot members comes just days after the band members said they had been beaten and attacked with horsewhips during an action hostile to Russian President Vladimir Putin in Winter Olympics host city Sochi.

The scuffles came a day after the protest punk band’s members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina were detained by police in the Russian Black Sea resort for several hours yesterday in connection with a theft case.

Additional reporting Associated Press and AFP

Read: Shocking video shows Pussy Riot members being whipped and beaten in Sochi>

Read: Pussy Riot members say they have been arrested in Sochi>

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