Pussy Riot's Nadya And Masha Report Being Detained In Sochi

The activists say they have been taken into custody each of the past three days. They want to perform a protest song in Sochi. They were convicted of "hooliganism" for performing a "punk prayer" in Moscow in 2012. Just before the games began, the women were released from prison.

The two most prominent members of the Russian punk protest band Pussy Riot say they were taken into custody Tuesday by police in Sochi, site of the Winter Olympics.

According to The Wall Street Journal:

"Nadezhda Tolokonnikova ['Nadya'] said by telephone from Sochi that she and Maria Alyokhina ['Masha'] had been detained by local police while they were walking along a street in the Black Sea resort Tuesday afternoon. She said they were told they were being held in relations to an alleged theft at their hotel."

Tolokonnikova posted a photo she reportedly snapped while inside the van that took the women and other activists to a police station. NBC's Richard Engel tweets that he's been told by a witness that around 40 people were detained.

Tolokonnikova also said on Twitter that she and Alyokhina have now been detained by authorities in Sochi on each of the past three days. They are at the Olympics to "Carry Out Actions" — protests — she added. But at the time of Tuesday's detention, she wrote, they were only walking on a Sochi street.

According to Tolokonnikova, Pussy Riot wants to perform a song called "Putin Will Teach You to Love Their Homeland," to call attention to the "corrupt" Olympics, inhumane prison conditions and authorities' attempt to "suppress freedoms."

The "ring of steel" that officials have thrown up around Sochi has not only been an effort to prevent any acts of terrorism, but also also to keep Putin's critics from protesting against his government.

Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina, you'll recall, were released from prison just before the Winter Games began — a move widely seen as an effort by Putin's government to improve Russia's international image while the world's attention is focused on Sochi. The women spent nearly two years behind bars after being convicted of "hooliganism" for being part of a 2012 "punk prayer" performance critical of Putin at Moscow's main Russian Orthodox cathedral.

Earlier this month, the women were in the U.S. They spoke with NPR's David Greene about life in Russia, their protests and prison conditions.

For coverage of the Winter Games themselves, check The Edge blog.

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