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2 members of punk group Pussy Riot released

KDWN

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Shouting and wearing their trademark garish balaclavas, two members of the punk group Pussy Riot left a police station Tuesday after being released following several hours of questioning in Sochi, the host city of the Winter Olympics.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina, along with seven others, were held by police near Sochi’s ferry terminal, a popular area for fans celebrating the Olympics, and taken to a police station for questioning.

Police said they were questioned in connection with a theft at the hotel where they were staying. No charges were filed.

Tolokonnikova said the detention followed three days of police harassment. She also said the two band members were detained for several hours the previous two days.

“We members of Pussy Riot have been here since late Sunday and we were constantly detained since then,” Tolokonnikova said after her release. “We are constantly surrounded by people, not you journalists, but people who are shadowing us, following our every move and looking for any excuse to detain us.”

Pussy Riot gained international attention in 2012 after barging into Moscow’s main cathedral and performing a “punk prayer” in which they entreated the Virgin Mary to save Russia from Vladimir Putin, who was on the verge of returning to the Russian presidency for a third term.

Tolokonnikova and Alekhina were sentenced to two years in prison, but were released in December under an amnesty bill.

Tolokonnikova’s husband, Pyotr Verzilov, and other people who were detained on Tuesday insisted that Pussy Riot were not protesting or demonstrating when they were taken off the street. But Tolokonnikova said the band is in Sochi with “the goal of staging a Pussy Riot protest.”

Tolokonnikova, Alekhina and three other unidentified women came running out of the police station chanting “Putin will teach you to love the motherland!”

It was not immediately clear whether Pussy Riot would be staying in Sochi or whether they would be protesting.

Yevgeny Feldman, a photographer who has been shadowing Pussy Riot for the past two days and was detained with them Tuesday afternoon, said the band members were filming videos around town for a new song.

Tolokonnikova also said police had shoved her and other detainees and that the group would file a complaint about their treatment to Russia’s Investigative Committee.

Pussy Riot, a performance-art collective which edits its actions into music videos, has become an international flashpoint for those who contend Putin’s government has exceeded its authority in dealing with an array of issues, notably human and gay rights.

Since their release in December, they have made many appearances overseas to push their campaign for improved conditions in Russia’s prisons. Alekhina and Tolokonnikova recently visited the U.S. to take part in an Amnesty International concert.

The area where the group members were detained is in downtown Sochi, about 30 kilometers (20 miles) north of the seaside Olympic venues.

Russia has put severe limitations on protests in Sochi during the Olympics, ordering that any demonstration must get approval and be held only in the neighborhood of Khosta, an area between Adler and downtown Sochi that is unlikely to be visited by outsiders.

Russia’s suppression of protests has been widely denounced in the West and the Pussy Riot detentions brought renewed criticism.

“In Putin’s Russia, the authorities have turned the Olympic rings – a worldwide symbol of hope and striving for the best of the human spirit – into handcuffs to shackle freedom of expression,” John Dalhuisen, Europe director for Amnesty International, said in a statement.

The actions taken against Pussy Riot came a day after an Italian transgender activist and former lawmaker was detained at the Olympics. Vladimir Luxuria was stopped while carrying a rainbow flag that read in Russian: “Gay is OK.” On Sunday, Luxuria said she was held by police and told not to wear clothing with slogans promoting gay rights.

Associated Press writer Jim Heintz contributed to this report.

2 members of punk group Pussy Riot released

KDWN

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Shouting and wearing their trademark garish balaclavas, two members of the punk group Pussy Riot left a police station Tuesday after being released following several hours of questioning in Sochi, the host city of the Winter Olympics.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina, along with seven others, were held by police near Sochi’s ferry terminal, a popular area for fans celebrating the Olympics, and taken to a police station for questioning.

Police said they were questioned in connection with a theft at the hotel where they were staying. No charges were filed.

Tolokonnikova said the detention followed three days of police harassment. She also said the two band members were detained for several hours the previous two days.

“We members of Pussy Riot have been here since late Sunday and we were constantly detained since then,” Tolokonnikova said after her release. “We are constantly surrounded by people, not you journalists, but people who are shadowing us, following our every move and looking for any excuse to detain us.”

Pussy Riot gained international attention in 2012 after barging into Moscow’s main cathedral and performing a “punk prayer” in which they entreated the Virgin Mary to save Russia from Vladimir Putin, who was on the verge of returning to the Russian presidency for a third term.

Tolokonnikova and Alekhina were sentenced to two years in prison, but were released in December under an amnesty bill.

Tolokonnikova’s husband, Pyotr Verzilov, and other people who were detained on Tuesday insisted that Pussy Riot were not protesting or demonstrating when they were taken off the street. But Tolokonnikova said the band is in Sochi with “the goal of staging a Pussy Riot protest.”

Tolokonnikova, Alekhina and three other unidentified women came running out of the police station chanting “Putin will teach you to love the motherland!”

It was not immediately clear whether Pussy Riot would be staying in Sochi or whether they would be protesting.

Yevgeny Feldman, a photographer who has been shadowing Pussy Riot for the past two days and was detained with them Tuesday afternoon, said the band members were filming videos around town for a new song.

Tolokonnikova also said police had shoved her and other detainees and that the group would file a complaint about their treatment to Russia’s Investigative Committee.

Pussy Riot, a performance-art collective which edits its actions into music videos, has become an international flashpoint for those who contend Putin’s government has exceeded its authority in dealing with an array of issues, notably human and gay rights.

Since their release in December, they have made many appearances overseas to push their campaign for improved conditions in Russia’s prisons. Alekhina and Tolokonnikova recently visited the U.S. to take part in an Amnesty International concert.

The area where the group members were detained is in downtown Sochi, about 30 kilometers (20 miles) north of the seaside Olympic venues.

Russia has put severe limitations on protests in Sochi during the Olympics, ordering that any demonstration must get approval and be held only in the neighborhood of Khosta, an area between Adler and downtown Sochi that is unlikely to be visited by outsiders.

Russia’s suppression of protests has been widely denounced in the West and the Pussy Riot detentions brought renewed criticism.

“In Putin’s Russia, the authorities have turned the Olympic rings – a worldwide symbol of hope and striving for the best of the human spirit – into handcuffs to shackle freedom of expression,” John Dalhuisen, Europe director for Amnesty International, said in a statement.

The actions taken against Pussy Riot came a day after an Italian transgender activist and former lawmaker was detained at the Olympics. Vladimir Luxuria was stopped while carrying a rainbow flag that read in Russian: “Gay is OK.” On Sunday, Luxuria said she was held by police and told not to wear clothing with slogans promoting gay rights.

Associated Press writer Jim Heintz contributed to this report.

2 members of punk group Pussy Riot released

KDWN

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Shouting and wearing their trademark garish balaclavas, two members of the punk group Pussy Riot left a police station Tuesday after being released following several hours of questioning in Sochi, the host city of the Winter Olympics.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina, along with seven others, were held by police near Sochi’s ferry terminal, a popular area for fans celebrating the Olympics, and taken to a police station for questioning.

Police said they were questioned in connection with a theft at the hotel where they were staying. No charges were filed.

Tolokonnikova said the detention followed three days of police harassment. She also said the two band members were detained for several hours the previous two days.

“We members of Pussy Riot have been here since late Sunday and we were constantly detained since then,” Tolokonnikova said after her release. “We are constantly surrounded by people, not you journalists, but people who are shadowing us, following our every move and looking for any excuse to detain us.”

Pussy Riot gained international attention in 2012 after barging into Moscow’s main cathedral and performing a “punk prayer” in which they entreated the Virgin Mary to save Russia from Vladimir Putin, who was on the verge of returning to the Russian presidency for a third term.

Tolokonnikova and Alekhina were sentenced to two years in prison, but were released in December under an amnesty bill.

Tolokonnikova’s husband, Pyotr Verzilov, and other people who were detained on Tuesday insisted that Pussy Riot were not protesting or demonstrating when they were taken off the street. But Tolokonnikova said the band is in Sochi with “the goal of staging a Pussy Riot protest.”

Tolokonnikova, Alekhina and three other unidentified women came running out of the police station chanting “Putin will teach you to love the motherland!”

It was not immediately clear whether Pussy Riot would be staying in Sochi or whether they would be protesting.

Yevgeny Feldman, a photographer who has been shadowing Pussy Riot for the past two days and was detained with them Tuesday afternoon, said the band members were filming videos around town for a new song.

Tolokonnikova also said police had shoved her and other detainees and that the group would file a complaint about their treatment to Russia’s Investigative Committee.

Pussy Riot, a performance-art collective which edits its actions into music videos, has become an international flashpoint for those who contend Putin’s government has exceeded its authority in dealing with an array of issues, notably human and gay rights.

Since their release in December, they have made many appearances overseas to push their campaign for improved conditions in Russia’s prisons. Alekhina and Tolokonnikova recently visited the U.S. to take part in an Amnesty International concert.

The area where the group members were detained is in downtown Sochi, about 30 kilometers (20 miles) north of the seaside Olympic venues.

Russia has put severe limitations on protests in Sochi during the Olympics, ordering that any demonstration must get approval and be held only in the neighborhood of Khosta, an area between Adler and downtown Sochi that is unlikely to be visited by outsiders.

Russia’s suppression of protests has been widely denounced in the West and the Pussy Riot detentions brought renewed criticism.

“In Putin’s Russia, the authorities have turned the Olympic rings – a worldwide symbol of hope and striving for the best of the human spirit – into handcuffs to shackle freedom of expression,” John Dalhuisen, Europe director for Amnesty International, said in a statement.

The actions taken against Pussy Riot came a day after an Italian transgender activist and former lawmaker was detained at the Olympics. Vladimir Luxuria was stopped while carrying a rainbow flag that read in Russian: “Gay is OK.” On Sunday, Luxuria said she was held by police and told not to wear clothing with slogans promoting gay rights.

Associated Press writer Jim Heintz contributed to this report.

2 members of punk group Pussy Riot released

KDWN

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Shouting and wearing their trademark garish balaclavas, two members of the punk group Pussy Riot left a police station Tuesday after being released following several hours of questioning in Sochi, the host city of the Winter Olympics.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina, along with seven others, were held by police near Sochi’s ferry terminal, a popular area for fans celebrating the Olympics, and taken to a police station for questioning.

Police said they were questioned in connection with a theft at the hotel where they were staying. No charges were filed.

Tolokonnikova said the detention followed three days of police harassment. She also said the two band members were detained for several hours the previous two days.

“We members of Pussy Riot have been here since late Sunday and we were constantly detained since then,” Tolokonnikova said after her release. “We are constantly surrounded by people, not you journalists, but people who are shadowing us, following our every move and looking for any excuse to detain us.”

Pussy Riot gained international attention in 2012 after barging into Moscow’s main cathedral and performing a “punk prayer” in which they entreated the Virgin Mary to save Russia from Vladimir Putin, who was on the verge of returning to the Russian presidency for a third term.

Tolokonnikova and Alekhina were sentenced to two years in prison, but were released in December under an amnesty bill.

Tolokonnikova’s husband, Pyotr Verzilov, and other people who were detained on Tuesday insisted that Pussy Riot were not protesting or demonstrating when they were taken off the street. But Tolokonnikova said the band is in Sochi with “the goal of staging a Pussy Riot protest.”

Tolokonnikova, Alekhina and three other unidentified women came running out of the police station chanting “Putin will teach you to love the motherland!”

It was not immediately clear whether Pussy Riot would be staying in Sochi or whether they would be protesting.

Yevgeny Feldman, a photographer who has been shadowing Pussy Riot for the past two days and was detained with them Tuesday afternoon, said the band members were filming videos around town for a new song.

Tolokonnikova also said police had shoved her and other detainees and that the group would file a complaint about their treatment to Russia’s Investigative Committee.

Pussy Riot, a performance-art collective which edits its actions into music videos, has become an international flashpoint for those who contend Putin’s government has exceeded its authority in dealing with an array of issues, notably human and gay rights.

Since their release in December, they have made many appearances overseas to push their campaign for improved conditions in Russia’s prisons. Alekhina and Tolokonnikova recently visited the U.S. to take part in an Amnesty International concert.

The area where the group members were detained is in downtown Sochi, about 30 kilometers (20 miles) north of the seaside Olympic venues.

Russia has put severe limitations on protests in Sochi during the Olympics, ordering that any demonstration must get approval and be held only in the neighborhood of Khosta, an area between Adler and downtown Sochi that is unlikely to be visited by outsiders.

Russia’s suppression of protests has been widely denounced in the West and the Pussy Riot detentions brought renewed criticism.

“In Putin’s Russia, the authorities have turned the Olympic rings – a worldwide symbol of hope and striving for the best of the human spirit – into handcuffs to shackle freedom of expression,” John Dalhuisen, Europe director for Amnesty International, said in a statement.

The actions taken against Pussy Riot came a day after an Italian transgender activist and former lawmaker was detained at the Olympics. Vladimir Luxuria was stopped while carrying a rainbow flag that read in Russian: “Gay is OK.” On Sunday, Luxuria said she was held by police and told not to wear clothing with slogans promoting gay rights.

Associated Press writer Jim Heintz contributed to this report.

2 members of punk group Pussy Riot released

KDWN

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Shouting and wearing their trademark garish balaclavas, two members of the punk group Pussy Riot left a police station Tuesday after being released following several hours of questioning in Sochi, the host city of the Winter Olympics.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina, along with seven others, were held by police near Sochi’s ferry terminal, a popular area for fans celebrating the Olympics, and taken to a police station for questioning.

Police said they were questioned in connection with a theft at the hotel where they were staying. No charges were filed.

Tolokonnikova said the detention followed three days of police harassment. She also said the two band members were detained for several hours the previous two days.

“We members of Pussy Riot have been here since late Sunday and we were constantly detained since then,” Tolokonnikova said after her release. “We are constantly surrounded by people, not you journalists, but people who are shadowing us, following our every move and looking for any excuse to detain us.”

Pussy Riot gained international attention in 2012 after barging into Moscow’s main cathedral and performing a “punk prayer” in which they entreated the Virgin Mary to save Russia from Vladimir Putin, who was on the verge of returning to the Russian presidency for a third term.

Tolokonnikova and Alekhina were sentenced to two years in prison, but were released in December under an amnesty bill.

Tolokonnikova’s husband, Pyotr Verzilov, and other people who were detained on Tuesday insisted that Pussy Riot were not protesting or demonstrating when they were taken off the street. But Tolokonnikova said the band is in Sochi with “the goal of staging a Pussy Riot protest.”

Tolokonnikova, Alekhina and three other unidentified women came running out of the police station chanting “Putin will teach you to love the motherland!”

It was not immediately clear whether Pussy Riot would be staying in Sochi or whether they would be protesting.

Yevgeny Feldman, a photographer who has been shadowing Pussy Riot for the past two days and was detained with them Tuesday afternoon, said the band members were filming videos around town for a new song.

Tolokonnikova also said police had shoved her and other detainees and that the group would file a complaint about their treatment to Russia’s Investigative Committee.

Pussy Riot, a performance-art collective which edits its actions into music videos, has become an international flashpoint for those who contend Putin’s government has exceeded its authority in dealing with an array of issues, notably human and gay rights.

Since their release in December, they have made many appearances overseas to push their campaign for improved conditions in Russia’s prisons. Alekhina and Tolokonnikova recently visited the U.S. to take part in an Amnesty International concert.

The area where the group members were detained is in downtown Sochi, about 30 kilometers (20 miles) north of the seaside Olympic venues.

Russia has put severe limitations on protests in Sochi during the Olympics, ordering that any demonstration must get approval and be held only in the neighborhood of Khosta, an area between Adler and downtown Sochi that is unlikely to be visited by outsiders.

Russia’s suppression of protests has been widely denounced in the West and the Pussy Riot detentions brought renewed criticism.

“In Putin’s Russia, the authorities have turned the Olympic rings – a worldwide symbol of hope and striving for the best of the human spirit – into handcuffs to shackle freedom of expression,” John Dalhuisen, Europe director for Amnesty International, said in a statement.

The actions taken against Pussy Riot came a day after an Italian transgender activist and former lawmaker was detained at the Olympics. Vladimir Luxuria was stopped while carrying a rainbow flag that read in Russian: “Gay is OK.” On Sunday, Luxuria said she was held by police and told not to wear clothing with slogans promoting gay rights.

Associated Press writer Jim Heintz contributed to this report.

2 members of punk group Pussy Riot released

KDWN

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Shouting and wearing their trademark garish balaclavas, two members of the punk group Pussy Riot left a police station Tuesday after being released following several hours of questioning in Sochi, the host city of the Winter Olympics.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina, along with seven others, were held by police near Sochi’s ferry terminal, a popular area for fans celebrating the Olympics, and taken to a police station for questioning.

Police said they were questioned in connection with a theft at the hotel where they were staying. No charges were filed.

Tolokonnikova said the detention followed three days of police harassment. She also said the two band members were detained for several hours the previous two days.

“We members of Pussy Riot have been here since late Sunday and we were constantly detained since then,” Tolokonnikova said after her release. “We are constantly surrounded by people, not you journalists, but people who are shadowing us, following our every move and looking for any excuse to detain us.”

Pussy Riot gained international attention in 2012 after barging into Moscow’s main cathedral and performing a “punk prayer” in which they entreated the Virgin Mary to save Russia from Vladimir Putin, who was on the verge of returning to the Russian presidency for a third term.

Tolokonnikova and Alekhina were sentenced to two years in prison, but were released in December under an amnesty bill.

Tolokonnikova’s husband, Pyotr Verzilov, and other people who were detained on Tuesday insisted that Pussy Riot were not protesting or demonstrating when they were taken off the street. But Tolokonnikova said the band is in Sochi with “the goal of staging a Pussy Riot protest.”

Tolokonnikova, Alekhina and three other unidentified women came running out of the police station chanting “Putin will teach you to love the motherland!”

It was not immediately clear whether Pussy Riot would be staying in Sochi or whether they would be protesting.

Yevgeny Feldman, a photographer who has been shadowing Pussy Riot for the past two days and was detained with them Tuesday afternoon, said the band members were filming videos around town for a new song.

Tolokonnikova also said police had shoved her and other detainees and that the group would file a complaint about their treatment to Russia’s Investigative Committee.

Pussy Riot, a performance-art collective which edits its actions into music videos, has become an international flashpoint for those who contend Putin’s government has exceeded its authority in dealing with an array of issues, notably human and gay rights.

Since their release in December, they have made many appearances overseas to push their campaign for improved conditions in Russia’s prisons. Alekhina and Tolokonnikova recently visited the U.S. to take part in an Amnesty International concert.

The area where the group members were detained is in downtown Sochi, about 30 kilometers (20 miles) north of the seaside Olympic venues.

Russia has put severe limitations on protests in Sochi during the Olympics, ordering that any demonstration must get approval and be held only in the neighborhood of Khosta, an area between Adler and downtown Sochi that is unlikely to be visited by outsiders.

Russia’s suppression of protests has been widely denounced in the West and the Pussy Riot detentions brought renewed criticism.

“In Putin’s Russia, the authorities have turned the Olympic rings – a worldwide symbol of hope and striving for the best of the human spirit – into handcuffs to shackle freedom of expression,” John Dalhuisen, Europe director for Amnesty International, said in a statement.

The actions taken against Pussy Riot came a day after an Italian transgender activist and former lawmaker was detained at the Olympics. Vladimir Luxuria was stopped while carrying a rainbow flag that read in Russian: “Gay is OK.” On Sunday, Luxuria said she was held by police and told not to wear clothing with slogans promoting gay rights.

Associated Press writer Jim Heintz contributed to this report.

2 members of punk group Pussy Riot released

KDWN

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Two members of the punk group Pussy Riot ran out of a police station in their trademark garish balaclavas Tuesday after being released following several hours of questioning in Sochi, the host city of the Winter Olympics.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina, along with seven others, were detained by police near Sochi’s ferry terminal, a popular area for fans celebrating the Olympics, and taken to a police station for questioning.

Police said they were questioned in connection with a theft at the hotel where they were staying. No charges were filed.

Tolokonnikova said the detention was the latest in a series of harassments against the group since Sunday. She said they had been detained for several hours on the previous two days.

“We members of Pussy Riot have been here since late Sunday and we were constantly detained since then,” Tolokonnikova said after her release. “We are constantly surrounded by people, not you journalists, but people who are shadowing us, following our every move and looking for any excuse to detain us.”

Pussy Riot gained international attention in 2012 after barging into Moscow’s main cathedral and performing a “punk prayer” in which they entreated the Virgin Mary to save Russia from Vladimir Putin, who was on the verge of returning to the Russian presidency.

Tolokonnikova and Alekhina were sentenced to two years in prison, but were released in December under an amnesty bill.

Earlier Tuesday, Tolokonnikova wrote on her Twitter account that “At the moment of detention, we were not conducting any actions, we were walking in Sochi.”

“We are in Sochi with the goal of staging a Pussy Riot protest. The song is called `Putin will teach you to love the motherland,'” she wrote.

She also said that police had shoved her and other detainees and that the group would file a complaint about their treatment to Russia’s Investigative Committee.

Pussy Riot, a performance-art collective which edits its actions into music videos, has become an international flashpoint for those who contend Putin’s government has exceeded its authority in dealing with an array of issues, notably human and gay rights.

Since their release in December, they have made many appearances overseas to push their campaign for improved conditions in Russia’s prisons. Alekhina and Tolokonnikova recently visited the U.S. to take part in an Amnesty International concert.

The area where the group members were detained is in downtown Sochi, about 30 kilometers (20 miles) north of the seaside Olympic venues.

Russia has put severe limitations on protests in Sochi during the Olympics, ordering that any demonstration must get approval and be held only in the neighborhood of Khosta, an area between Adler and downtown Sochi that is unlikely to be visited by outsiders.

Russia’s suppression of protests has been widely denounced in the West and the Pussy Riot detentions brought renewed criticism.

“In Putin’s Russia, the authorities have turned the Olympic rings – a worldwide symbol of hope and striving for the best of the human spirit – into handcuffs to shackle freedom of expression,” John Dalhuisen, Europe director for Amnesty International, said in a statement.

The actions taken against Pussy Riot came a day after an Italian transgender activist and former lawmaker was detained at the Olympics. Vladimir Luxuria was stopped while carrying a rainbow flag that read in Russian: “Gay is OK.” On Sunday, Luxuria said she was held by police and told not to wear clothing with slogans promoting gay rights.

Associated Press writer Jim Heintz contributed to this report.

2 members of punk group Pussy Riot released

KDWN

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Two members of the punk group Pussy Riot ran out of a police station in their trademark garish balaclavas Tuesday after being released following several hours of questioning in Sochi, the host city of the Winter Olympics.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina, along with seven others, were detained by police near Sochi’s ferry terminal, a popular area for fans celebrating the Olympics, and taken to a police station for questioning.

Police said they were questioned in connection with a theft at the hotel where they were staying. No charges were filed.

Tolokonnikova said the detention was the latest in a series of harassments against the group since Sunday. She said they had been detained for several hours on the previous two days.

“We members of Pussy Riot have been here since late Sunday and we were constantly detained since then,” Tolokonnikova said after her release. “We are constantly surrounded by people, not you journalists, but people who are shadowing us, following our every move and looking for any excuse to detain us.”

Pussy Riot gained international attention in 2012 after barging into Moscow’s main cathedral and performing a “punk prayer” in which they entreated the Virgin Mary to save Russia from Vladimir Putin, who was on the verge of returning to the Russian presidency.

Tolokonnikova and Alekhina were sentenced to two years in prison, but were released in December under an amnesty bill.

Earlier Tuesday, Tolokonnikova wrote on her Twitter account that “At the moment of detention, we were not conducting any actions, we were walking in Sochi.”

“We are in Sochi with the goal of staging a Pussy Riot protest. The song is called `Putin will teach you to love the motherland,'” she wrote.

She also said that police had shoved her and other detainees and that the group would file a complaint about their treatment to Russia’s Investigative Committee.

Pussy Riot, a performance-art collective which edits its actions into music videos, has become an international flashpoint for those who contend Putin’s government has exceeded its authority in dealing with an array of issues, notably human and gay rights.

Since their release in December, they have made many appearances overseas to push their campaign for improved conditions in Russia’s prisons. Alekhina and Tolokonnikova recently visited the U.S. to take part in an Amnesty International concert.

The area where the group members were detained is in downtown Sochi, about 30 kilometers (20 miles) north of the seaside Olympic venues.

Russia has put severe limitations on protests in Sochi during the Olympics, ordering that any demonstration must get approval and be held only in the neighborhood of Khosta, an area between Adler and downtown Sochi that is unlikely to be visited by outsiders.

Russia’s suppression of protests has been widely denounced in the West and the Pussy Riot detentions brought renewed criticism.

“In Putin’s Russia, the authorities have turned the Olympic rings – a worldwide symbol of hope and striving for the best of the human spirit – into handcuffs to shackle freedom of expression,” John Dalhuisen, Europe director for Amnesty International, said in a statement.

The actions taken against Pussy Riot came a day after an Italian transgender activist and former lawmaker was detained at the Olympics. Vladimir Luxuria was stopped while carrying a rainbow flag that read in Russian: “Gay is OK.” On Sunday, Luxuria said she was held by police and told not to wear clothing with slogans promoting gay rights.

Associated Press writer Jim Heintz contributed to this report.

2 members of punk group Pussy Riot released

KDWN

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Two members of the Russian punk group Pussy Riot have been released after being detained by police in Sochi, the host city of the Winter Olympics.

No charges were filed against Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina, who were held along with several other people near the city’s ferry terminal, a popular area for fans celebrating the Olympics.

Seven other people who were detained with them also were released Tuesday.

Police said they were being questioned in connection with a theft at the hotel where they were staying.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

A member of the punk group Pussy Riot said she and one of her bandmates were detained Tuesday while walking in downtown Sochi, the host city of the Winter Olympics.

Local activist Semyon Simonov told The Associated Press the Pussy Riot members were accused of theft and nine people were held in all.

Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova wrote on Twitter that she and Maria Alekhina were stopped and accused of a crime. She said a third member of the loosely organized group also was detained.

“At the moment of detention, we were not conducting any actions, we were walking in Sochi,” Tolokonnikova wrote while being held by police. “We are in Sochi with the goal of staging a Pussy Riot protest. The song is called `Putin will teach you to love the motherland.'”

A lawyer for the group, Alexander Popkov, told the AP that police were refusing to say if the group was suspected of a crime or were witnesses. They were taken to the police station in Adler, a suburb of Sochi that is home to the Olympic Park, because a theft had been reported from the hotel where they were staying, Popkov said. No charges have been filed.

“They are in total ignorance of what is going on. They were told they were not being detained but being asked in for questioning but the police are not letting them go,” Popkov said.

Pussy Riot, a performance-art collective which edits its actions into music videos, has become an international flashpoint for those who contend Vladimir Putin’s government has exceeded its authority in dealing with an array of issues, notably human and gay rights.

Tolokonnikova and Alekhina served nearly two years in prison for hooliganism after Pussy Riot members performed a “punk prayer” in Moscow’s main cathedral, calling on the Virgin Mary to save Russia from Putin. The conviction drew attention to Russia’s crackdown on opposition during Putin’s presidency.

The women said their protest performance at the cathedral was aimed at raising concern about the close ties between church and state.

Since their release under an amnesty bill in December, they have made many appearances overseas to push their campaign for improved conditions in Russia’s prisons. Alekhina and Tolokonnikova recently visited the U.S. to take part in an Amnesty International concert.

On Tuesday, Tolokonnikova said authorities used “force” during the detention near the ferry terminal area where booths celebrating the Olympics have been set up. The area is about 30 kilometers (20 miles) north of the seaside Olympic venues. Tolokonnikova also said they had been detained for about 10 hours on Sunday.

Russia has put severe limitations on protests in Sochi during the Olympics, ordering that any demonstration must get approval and be held only in the neighborhood of Khosta, an area between Adler and downtown Sochi that is unlikely to be visited by outsiders.

Russia’s suppression of protests has been widely denounced in the West and the Pussy Riot detentions brought renewed criticism.

“In Putin’s Russia, the authorities have turned the Olympic rings – a worldwide symbol of hope and striving for the best of the human spirit – into handcuffs to shackle freedom of expression,” John Dalhuisen, Europe director for Amnesty International, said in a statement.

The actions taken against Pussy Riot come a day after an Italian transgender activist and former lawmaker was detained at the Olympics. Vladimir Luxuria was stopped while carrying a rainbow flag that read in Russian: “Gay is OK.” On Sunday, Luxuria said she was held by police and told not to wear clothing with slogans promoting gay rights.

Associated Press writer Jim Heintz contributed to this report.

2 members of punk group Pussy Riot released

KDWN

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Two members of the Russian punk group Pussy Riot have been released after being detained by police in Sochi, the host city of the Winter Olympics.

No charges were filed against Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina, who were held along with several other people near the city’s ferry terminal, a popular area for fans celebrating the Olympics.

Seven other people who were detained with them also were released Tuesday.

Police said they were being questioned in connection with a theft at the hotel where they were staying.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

A member of the punk group Pussy Riot said she and one of her bandmates were detained Tuesday while walking in downtown Sochi, the host city of the Winter Olympics.

Local activist Semyon Simonov told The Associated Press the Pussy Riot members were accused of theft and nine people were held in all.

Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova wrote on Twitter that she and Maria Alekhina were stopped and accused of a crime. She said a third member of the loosely organized group also was detained.

“At the moment of detention, we were not conducting any actions, we were walking in Sochi,” Tolokonnikova wrote while being held by police. “We are in Sochi with the goal of staging a Pussy Riot protest. The song is called `Putin will teach you to love the motherland.'”

A lawyer for the group, Alexander Popkov, told the AP that police were refusing to say if the group was suspected of a crime or were witnesses. They were taken to the police station in Adler, a suburb of Sochi that is home to the Olympic Park, because a theft had been reported from the hotel where they were staying, Popkov said. No charges have been filed.

“They are in total ignorance of what is going on. They were told they were not being detained but being asked in for questioning but the police are not letting them go,” Popkov said.

Pussy Riot, a performance-art collective which edits its actions into music videos, has become an international flashpoint for those who contend Vladimir Putin’s government has exceeded its authority in dealing with an array of issues, notably human and gay rights.

Tolokonnikova and Alekhina served nearly two years in prison for hooliganism after Pussy Riot members performed a “punk prayer” in Moscow’s main cathedral, calling on the Virgin Mary to save Russia from Putin. The conviction drew attention to Russia’s crackdown on opposition during Putin’s presidency.

The women said their protest performance at the cathedral was aimed at raising concern about the close ties between church and state.

Since their release under an amnesty bill in December, they have made many appearances overseas to push their campaign for improved conditions in Russia’s prisons. Alekhina and Tolokonnikova recently visited the U.S. to take part in an Amnesty International concert.

On Tuesday, Tolokonnikova said authorities used “force” during the detention near the ferry terminal area where booths celebrating the Olympics have been set up. The area is about 30 kilometers (20 miles) north of the seaside Olympic venues. Tolokonnikova also said they had been detained for about 10 hours on Sunday.

Russia has put severe limitations on protests in Sochi during the Olympics, ordering that any demonstration must get approval and be held only in the neighborhood of Khosta, an area between Adler and downtown Sochi that is unlikely to be visited by outsiders.

Russia’s suppression of protests has been widely denounced in the West and the Pussy Riot detentions brought renewed criticism.

“In Putin’s Russia, the authorities have turned the Olympic rings – a worldwide symbol of hope and striving for the best of the human spirit – into handcuffs to shackle freedom of expression,” John Dalhuisen, Europe director for Amnesty International, said in a statement.

The actions taken against Pussy Riot come a day after an Italian transgender activist and former lawmaker was detained at the Olympics. Vladimir Luxuria was stopped while carrying a rainbow flag that read in Russian: “Gay is OK.” On Sunday, Luxuria said she was held by police and told not to wear clothing with slogans promoting gay rights.

Associated Press writer Jim Heintz contributed to this report.