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Pussy Riot claims attack by auxiliary police in Sochi, Russia

Feb. 19, 2014 at 3:12 PM

SOCHI, Russia, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Members of the Russian rock band Pussy Riot were attacked by uniformed Cossacks serving as auxiliary police in Sochi, Russia, Wednesday, a group member said.

Maria Alyokhina said she, other members of the ensemble and four people filming the group's performance were beaten by 15 to 20 Cossacks and 10 to 15 plainclothes police officers as they began to perform an anti-Kremlin protest song at the Winter Olympics, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

"A few seconds into the song they began beating us with batons, and pepper sprayed us," Alyokhina said.

An unidentified police spokesman acknowledged that Cossacks, Russian traditionalists who serve as a uniformed auxiliary police force, are present at the Olympics, but added he was not aware of an alleged attack on the band.

Two members of Pussy Riot were detained Tuesday by police in Sochi in what the band later called an attempt to prevent them from performing.

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