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Police detain 5 persons near Moscow's Tagansky court

April 19, 2012, 15:21 UTC+3

Police continued to detain participants in the unsanctioned protest action

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MOSCOW, April 19 (Itar-Tass) — Police detained five persons near Moscow’s Tagansky court on Thursday, where an action began to support the Pussy Riot group. Two detainees were set free after police warned them against re-offending and protocols of administrative offense were drawn against three others, a city police official told Itar-Tass.

The three persons against whom police are drawing protocols, tried to unfold the posters with the calls to release Pussy Riot members.

On Thursday, the Tagansky court will consider the investigator’s petition to extend custody for Pussy Riot activists Maria Alyokhina, Nadezda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich, accused of hooliganism.

Prior to that, the Opposition decided to stage an unsanctioned protest action near the building of the court, calling it "Trial Festival. Pussy Riot." They planned to read poems, sing songs and show their creativity in support of the young women.

Critic Atryomy Troitsky has already come to the building of the court. He told reporters he had learnt about the action on Wednesday and decided to support it.

"Of course, I don't have enough strength to stand here two hours, but I had to join," he said.

Journalist Olga Romanov was expected to take part in the action, but she told Itar-Tass by telephone that she was not coming because she was in Warsaw.

Meanwhile, police continued to detain participants in the unsanctioned protest action.

At least 15 persons have already been detained. One man was detained for spraying a powder fire extinguisher in the crowd. Two smoke pellets were reportedly thrown at the crowd.

Some 40 persons are on the court' premises. Many of them have badges and white ribbons reading "Freedom!" Some tried to light torches, but police intercepted the action. Many reporters are at the scene.

Some 30 police are on duty around the building of the court.

On February 21, five masked girls in brightly colored clothes appeared in the Christ the Savior Church, ran onto the ambo before the altar and performed an indecent song for several minutes using the amplifiers they had brought along. They also shouted insults against the clergy and believers, as well as against the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill.

The girls ignored the rebukes by the church attendants and believers, and fled as guards tried to detain them.

Police opened a criminal case under Article 21, Part 2 of Russia’s Criminal Code /hooliganism/ which envisions a penalty of up to seven years.

Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina denied involvement in the church prank.


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