Pussy Riot claim responsibility for World Cup 2018 final pitch invasion

Protest group Pussy Riot, long a thorn in Vladimir Putin’s side, has claimed responsibility for four people who brought the World Cup final between France and Croatia to a brief halt by running onto the field dressed in police uniforms.

“Right now, there are four members of Pussy Riot on the pitch,” the group wrote on its Facebook page. Later a member of the band, Olga Kurachyova, told Reuters she was one of those who had run on to the pitch. She said she was being detained in a Moscow police station.

The Russian news website Mediazona reported that three women and one man had taken part in the protest and all four had been taken to a nearby police station.

The group said the pitch invasion had been a protest with demands including:

Free political prisoners.
Do not put people in jail for social media “likes”.
Stop illegal detentions at political rallies.
Allow political competition in Russia.
Do not fabricate criminal cases and detain people for no reason.

The political punk group released a statement calling for the freeing of political prisoners, an end to “illegal arrests” of protesters and for “political competition” to be allowed in Russia.

The statement also referenced the case of Oleg Sentsov, a vocal opponent of Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, who was sentenced in 2015 to 20 years for conspiracy to commit terror acts.

He denies the charges and has been on a hunger strike since mid-May.

It was not clear if Pussy Riot used the uniforms as a ruse to enter Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium. The group could not immediately be reached for comment.

“The citizens in question were taken to the local police station,” the Moscow branch of the Russian Interior Ministry said, without providing further details.

A video circulated on Russian social media after the match appeared to show two of the protesters, still in police uniforms, being interrogated at a police station.

Internet TV channel Dozhd identified the male protester as Pyotr Verzilov, one of the group’s most prominent members.

Under barking queries from a man off camera, Mr Verzilov says: “I am for Russia, just like you — if you are for Russia.

Rafiuzzaman Sifat

Md. Rafiuzzaman Sifat, a CSE graduate turned into journalist, works at News Hour as a staff reporter. He has many years of experience in featured writing in different Bangladeshi newspapers. He is an active blogger, story writer and social network activist. He published a book named 'Se Amar Gopon' inEkushe boi mela Dhaka 2016. Sifat got a BSc. from Ahsanullah University of Science & Technology, Bangladesh. He also works as an Engineer at Bangla Trac Communications Ltd. As an avid traveler and a gourmet food aficionado, he is active in publishing restaurant reviews and cutting-edge articles about culinary culture.
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