UPDATED: Pussy Riot Members Temporarily Detained For Questioning In Sochi, Allegedly Beaten Physically

Pussy Riot 2014

**UPDATE** Video has surfaced of Russian police officers pepper spraying and beating the women in Pussy Riot as they attempt to begin another Olympic protest performance Wednesday. Just as guitars and microphones start coming out, the officers move in. Be warned, the video depicts mild violence and it’s not an easy watch. You can view it after the jump.

The Pussy Riot saga continues and gets more upsetting every day. Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alekhina, former members of the Russian punk band were detained and later released by Russian police in Sochi this weekend. AP is reporting that the women were beaten physically and questioned by Russian police officers over an alleged hotel room theft, then released the following day. No charges were filed.

The women were in Sochi to perform a protest song called “Putin Will Teach You to Love Their Homeland” in protest of the Olympics and the treatment of prisoners in Russian prisons.

Tolokonnikova explained in an interview with The Wall Street Journal:

We, Maria Alyokhina and the anonymous members of Pussy Riot, came to Sochi to organize a protest and express our political views but at the time of our detention [by the local police] we were just taking a stroll minding our own business when we got picked up by the police and shoved into a police van. We’ve been detained like anybody who’s made an attempt to criticize authorities during the Olympics. Authorities treat local guests and athletes nicely but not those who are attempting to organize a protest.

Tolokonnikova and Alekhina were arrested by Russian police in 2012 for “hooliganism” after performing a protest song in a church. Their struggle with the Russian legal system has consistently proven depressing and futile over the years, but their insistence on pointing out the shortcomings of a flawed institution has garnered the appreciation of the punk rock and human rights communities.

John Bazley

John Bazley was raised in central New Jersey by the romantic aura of the Asbury Park beachfront, punk rock, and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4. He is still trying to figure all of this stuff out.

In addition to UTG, John has contributed to Alternative Press and Full Frequency Media. Follow him on Twitter for pictures of his dog.
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