Pussy Riot's Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova Detained in Moscow

 AP Photo/Axel Schmidt

MOSCOW -- Dozens of people protesting against harsh sentences for participants in a 2012 anti-Putin rally were detained in Moscow on Monday, including Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina.

VIDEO: Sochi: Pussy Riot Release Protest Music Video Shot Near Olympics

Several hundred people gathered in front of Zamoskvoretsky court in the early afternoon, as sentences for eight people, found guilty of taking part in clashing with police at an anti-Putin rally on Bolotnaya Square in May 2012, were handed down.

Seven people were given sentences of between two and a half and four years in prison, and another defendant received a suspended sentence, while observers believed that their guilt wasn't sufficiently proven.

Outside the court, police broke up protests and arrested more than 100 people, including Alyokhina, Tolokonnikova and prominent opposition activist and anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny, who were taken to a police station in a police van and later released.

Several hours later, people began to gather for an unauthorized rally on Manezh Square near the Kremlin, but the area had been blocked by the police.

Still, several hundred people showed up, of which several dozen, including Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova, were detained for "participating in an unsanctioned rally."

VIDEO: Sochi: Pussy Riot Members Whipped by Cossack Militia

"On Manezh, they detained me, [Tolokonnikova] and Alyokhina," Tolokonnikova's husband, Pyotr Verzilov, said on the Twitter account of the art group Voina, affiliated with Pussy Riot. "Theyputusintoatotallydarkpolicevan."

"Around 300 people gathered in the city's central part late on Monday," a police spokesman was quoted as saying by the wire service RIA Novosti. "Despite law enforcers' demands to stop their attempts to disrupt public order, they continued their unlawful activities." He confirmed that about 70 people were detained.

comments powered by Disqus