Disrupters

Pussy Riot members sentenced after protesting in middle of World Cup final

You couldn’t ask for a bigger stage than the World Cup, and members of Pussy Riot used that global venue to stage a protest against their nemesis.

During the final match between Croatia and France on Sunday, four members of Pussy Riot, the anti-Kremlin punk protest group, rushed the field — in full view of Russian President Vladimir Putin who was watching from the stands — wearing fake police uniforms.

The act was meant to promote freedom of speech, they say, and to show how “the state, in the form of the police, intrudes into people’s lives,” said Pyotr Verzilov, the lone male involved in the protest.

They’ve now been sentenced by a Moscow court to 15 days in prison for their actions, according to U.S. News & World Report. “It is a pity that we disrupted the sportsmen,” Olga Kurachyova told reporters on Monday. “FIFA is involved in unfair games unfortunately. FIFA is a friend of heads of states who carry out repression, who violate human rights.”

Pussy Riot first made waves in 2012 for protesting against Putin in Moscow’s Christ the Savior cathedral, after which two of its members were jailed for 21 months. Over the years, they’ve also released a provocative music video mocking Russia’s general prosecutor Yuri Chaika and the abuse of government power in pursuit of wealth, and raised money for an immersive theater project that would simulate Russian courtrooms, a Russian labor colony, solitary confinement cells, and other “more absurd but real-life things” typical of Russian life today.

It remains to be seen what their next act will be. Veronika Nikulshina, Olga Pakhtusova, Kurachyova and Verzilov were also banned from attending sporting events for the next three years. Good thing the next World Cup is four years away.

Read the full story at U.S. News & World Report.

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