Pussy Riot members arrested in Sochi

Posted Feb 18, 2014 by D.M. McGrory
Two members of the punk band Pussy Riot have been arrested by Russian police in Sochi, along with a group of activists and journalists.
Masked members of protest band Pussy Rot leave a police station in Adler during the 2014 Sochi Winte...
Masked members of protest band Pussy Rot leave a police station in Adler during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, February 18, 2014
© Reuters / Shamil Zhumatov
Maria Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova say they had been detained in the centre of the town, which plays host to the 2014 Winter Olympics, on suspicion of a criminal offence.
The pair previously spent nearly two years in prison after being convicted of hooliganism in 2012 after staging a protest in Moscow's largest cathedral in opposition to President Vladimir Putin's government. They were released in December.
The town centre of Sochi is several miles from the site where the Games are taking place.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova told the BBC that she and Maria Alyokhina, are being held at a police station after being detained on suspicion of "theft." No charges have been filed against either of the pair.
Ms Tolokonnikova went on to claim that since their arrival to the town on Sunday they had been detained several times. Adding that authorities used "force" during the detention near the area's ferry terminal, come 30 kilometres away from the nearest games site.
Russia has placed strict limitations on protests in Sochi during the Olympics, ordering that all demonstrations receive formal approval and be held in specific areas, namely the neighbourhood of Khosta near downtown Sochi a location unlikely to be inhabited by visitors.
Reuters' reports that a lawyer for the women, Irina Khrunova, said police had detained a large group on a Sochi street including accredited journalists, but did not know why they had been detained.
"In Russia it happens that they just do that," she added when asked why the group had been arrested, adding "no one identified concrete charges…there is a lawyer there trying to find out."