Pussy Riot members released in Sochi

The Sports NetworkFebruary 18, 2014 

Sochi, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Two members of the punk rock band Pussy Riot who were detained in Sochi on Tuesday were later released.

Pictures posted online by news outlets showed several people in colorful ski masks surrounded by reporters outside a police station in the Olympic host city.

The two band members were part of a group of people picked up by Sochi police earlier Tuesday as they planned to film a protest video, according to reports and tweets from one of the band members.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova tweeted that she had been detained "on suspicion of felony." A human rights activist who was also detained told the Washington Post the women were told they had been picked up because they were witnesses to a theft in a hotel. An NBC News correspondent reported the manager of a hotel where the band members were staying said a bag of cash had apparently been stolen.

Tolokonnikova said "force" was used and that they had planned to perform a song called "Putin Will Teach You to Love the Motherland" before they were detained.

The band is known for its activism and strong opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Tolokonnikova and another woman detained Tuesday, Maria Alekhina, were among three band members who were arrested and jailed for nearly two years after performing an anti-Putin song in a Moscow cathedral and turning it into a music video.

Tolokonnikova, 24, and Alekhina, 25, were released in December and Pussy Riot's plight has made headlines around the world.

Two weeks ago, Tolokonnikova and Alekhina appeared on the Comedy Central show "The Colbert Report" and exchanged jokes with host Stephen Colbert through a translator.

Tolokonnikova tweeted throughout the day Tuesday, even after she had been detained. After her release, she continued posting messages to the social media site about Putin and the Olympics.

The scene after their release was described as "wild" by a USA Today reporter, who said five people wore ski masks and sung songs as the press followed.

In an interview this month with the editorial board of the New York Times, Tolokonnikova and Alekhina said they didn't fear further imprisonment even as they pledged to continue being activists for causes including feminism and gay rights.

Russia was widely criticized for passing laws last year aimed at keeping gay "propaganda" away from children.

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