March 5, 2012 15:48

Punk band Pussy Riot arrested for anti-Putin church demonstration

Six band members faced hooliganism charges, say reports

Punk band Pussy Riot arrested for anti-Putin church demonstration

Photo: PA

Six members of the band Pussy Riot have been arrested for staging a protest against Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

The Moscow Times reports that the punk protestors will now face hooliganism charges following their demonstration at the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow last month. If found guilty, they could face up to seven years in prison.

Putin recently triumphed in the Russian Presidential election but, despite his insistence that his victory was clean and legitimate, the verdict has been marred by accusations of fraud by his competitors.

Members of the band had staged an impromptu performance at the church on February 21, when they sang a song called 'Holy Shit' as a protest against the Orthodox Christian's church alleged support for Putin. Although the group were initially able to flee before police arrived, the Interior Ministry have now confirmed that they have been captured and arrested. Three women and one man were arrested last Saturday (March 3), with police apprehending another two suspects the following day (March 4).

The Interior Ministry said:

These citizens were taken in on suspicion of committing a crime, one involving a gross violation of public order, including inciting religious hatred as part of a planned conspiracy.

Meanwhile, RIA Novosti reports that two members of the band, named as Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, have gone on hunger strike since their arrest. The pair claim that they should be released on bail as they have underage children and therefore would be unlikely to flee, but no official verdict has been made on their detainment.

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