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2 members of punk band Pussy Riot held in Sochi

Two prominent members of the punk band Pussy Riot were detained yesterday while walking in downtown Sochi, the host city of the Winter Olympics, a local human rights activist said.

Semyon Simonov told the Associated Press he was with Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova when they were stopped and accused of theft.

Several other activists were also detained by the police at the same time, said Simonov, who has been protesting alleged abuses of migrant laborers at Olympic sites.

The women were being held at a police station in Adler, a suburb of Sochi that is home to the Olympic Park.

Alekhina and Tolokonnikova spent nearly two years in prison but were released in December. They were convicted of hooliganism after staging a protest in Moscow’s largest cathedral in opposition to President Vladimir Putin’s government.

Alekhina and Tolokonnikova recently visited the United States and Germany to take part in an Amnesty International concert.

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

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