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Moscow: 12 arrested at protest

June 20, 2012 at 3:14 PM   |   Comments

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MOSCOW, June 20 (UPI) -- Protesters were arrested in Moscow Wednesday during a hearing for the female punk band Pussy Riot, who could face jail for an anti-Putin song, police say.

Police arrested at least 12 people for blowing whistles outside a Moscow court in protest, RIA Novosti reported. Some 200 people gathered to demand the release of the all-female punk group, three members of which were detained in March for performing a sang a song entitled "Holy Sh*t" in a Russian Orthodox cathedral.

The lyrics, containing lines such as "Holy Mother, Blessed Virgin, chase Putin out!", have enraged supporters of the church, who staged a counter-protest Wednesday.

The band three members remanded in custody, Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich, face hoolganism charges for the song against President Vladimir Putin, punishable by up to seven years in jail.

Amnesty International recognized the three as prisoners of conscience in April. Many political figures as well as church officials have called for their release.

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