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Two Pussy Riot punk bandmates held in Sochi

BY NATALIYA VASILYEVA
ASSOCIATED PRESS

SOCHI, Russia -- 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.'"

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.

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