Nadezhda Tolokonnikova covers her face to protect herself from a Cossack militiaman while she and fellow members of the punk group Pussy Riot, including Maria Alekhina, second left, in the pink balaclava, stage a protest performance in Sochi, Russia, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova covers her face to protect herself from a Cossack militiaman while she and fellow members of the punk group Pussy Riot, including Maria Alekhina, second left, in the pink balaclava, stage a protest performance in Sochi, Russia, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014.Morry Gash—AP
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova covers her face to protect herself from a Cossack militiaman while she and fellow members of the punk group Pussy Riot, including Maria Alekhina, second left, in the pink balaclava, stage a protest performance in Sochi, Russia, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014.
Members of the punk group Pussy Riot, including Nadezhda Tolokonnikova in the blue balaclava and Maria Alekhina in the pink balaclava, are attacked by Cossack militia in Sochi, Russia, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014.
A photographer is whipped by a member of the Cossack militia while trying to photograph members of the punk group Pussy Riot being attacked by Cossack militia and a Russian security officer, in Sochi, Russia, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014.
A member of the punk group Pussy Riot lies on the ground as the group are attacked by Cossack militia in Sochi, Russia, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014.
A Russian security officer attacks Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and a photographer as she and fellow members of the punk group Pussy Riot, including Maria Alekhina, left, stage a protest performance in Sochi, Russia, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014.
A Russian security officer records members of the punk group Pussy Riot Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, right, and Maria Alekhina, center, after they were attacked by Cossack militia in Sochi, Russia, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014.
APTOPIX Sochi Olympics Pussy Riot
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova covers her face to protect herself from a Cossack militiaman while she and fellow members of the
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Morry Gash—AP
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WATCH: Pussy Riot Attacked in Sochi by Cossack Militia

Feb 19, 2014

Pussy Riot, the Russian punk band that promised to take advantage of the world spotlight on the Sochi Olympics to protest Vladimir Putin's government, has managed to stay in the headlines over the past few days. On Tuesday, band members Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were meeting with journalists when they were detained by police, allegedly for questioning about a theft in their hotel. Word of their arrest reverberated throughout social media and the two were later released.

On Wednesday afternoon, several band members were trying to stage a protest performance, but shortly after donning the band members donned their signature ski masks, Cossacks—deployed in the town during the Games—brandished whips and pepper spray to break up the assembly. Video of the incident shows the Cossacks knocking the women to the ground, striking them with thick ropes and pulling off their masks. The band's attorney told USA Today Sports that three members of the group were hospitalized for injuries.

The group has said they are in Sochi to play a protest song titled, "Putin will teach you to love the motherland." It is not clear if they plan to try and stage another performance. — Nate Rawlings

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