Two Pussy Riot members arrested in Moscow on day of mass protests across Russia

The activist group and punk band have claimed Moscow police are "still mad" after their World Cup action

Two Pussy Riot members have been arrested in Moscow, the activist group and punk band have confirmed.

Veronika Nikulshina and Peter Verzilov were detained today (September 9) in separate circumstances. Nikulshina and a friend were reportedly arrested by police and “anti-extremism agents” while driving in downtown Moscow.

The group tweeted that authorities claimed that they “were refusing to agree to a β€œterrorist check” of their car – and they had to be arrested.” They posted a photo of Nikulshina later, with the caption: “Our activist Nika says hi to everyone from behind bars of a Moscow police station – she will be spending the night here until a court hearing tomorrow. The girls have been arrested in their car for absolutely NOTHING. Moscow police is still madΒ  after the World Cup action.”

Nikulshina and the woman arrested with her will be kept overnight until a court hearing, due to be held tomorrow.

Verzilov, meanwhile, was arrested after leaving his home. It has not been confirmed whether he will be held at a police station overnight.

In a statement, Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova said: “Nika is charged with 19.3 article, the same one as they got after the world cup. but this time she was in the car driving with her friend. they stopped her and arrested.”

The band called on authorities to release Nika and “everyone else detained during today’s big protest day in Russia!” Nearly 300 people have been arrested at protests opposing a planned increase in the country’s retirement age, according to the BBC.Β 

Nikulshina and Verzilov were two of the four Pussy Riot members arrested in July after they invaded the pitch during the World Cup Final. They were sentenced to 15 days in prison and banned from attending sports events for three years.

They were arrested again after serving the 15-day sentence but were released a day later.