International

Feb 18, 2014 1:10 PM by AP, Reuters

Two members of punk band Pussy Riot detained, released in Sochi

SOCHI, Russia (AP, Reuters) - The Winter Olympics in Russia have taken more of a political turn today.

Two members of the punk group Pussy Riot were among nine people detained today while walking in downtown Sochi. All were later released, and no charges were filed.

The punk group has become an international flashpoint for those who contend that Vladimir Putin's government has exceeded its authority in dealing with a range of issues, including human rights and gay rights.

Two members of the punk protest band Pussy Riot accused Moscow on Monday of obstructing their campaign to improve conditions in Russia's jails, and called for international monitoring.

Band members, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who were themselves freed from jail in December under an amnesty, also said they might consider stepping up their political activism by running for election to the Moscow city government.

The women served more than 21 months of a two-year term for performing a profanity-laced "punk prayer" protest against President Vladimir Putin in Moscow's main Russian Orthodox cathedral.

They have said they now want to devote themselves to helping Russia's prison population, including those jailed for protesting against Putin and his government, but complained during a visit to Berlin of obstacles being put in their way.

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