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Police tighten security pending court hearings into Pussy Riot case

June 20, 2012, 12:51 UTC+3

Around twenty supporters of the punk group have gathered near the court building

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MOSCOW, June 20 (Itar-Tass) —— Police have tightened security outside the Taganka district court pending court hearings into the case of Pussy Riot punk group accused of hooliganism in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

Around 30 policemen are on guard on the court premises. Bailiffs admit people into the court building on presentation of court summons only. Representatives of the mass media are to produce either accreditation cards or pass cards of their editorial offices.

Around twenty supporters of the punk group have gathered near the court building, some of them have staged single pickets demanding to release the punk group.

The court is to pass a resolution on an appeal filed by the investigation which demanded to prolong a term in custody for the punk group - Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, Yekaterina Samutsevich, for two more months.

The Pussy Riot's supporters declared that the so-called "cultural event" would be held in support of the detained punk group.

The punk group claimed responsibility for an incident staged at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow on February 21 in which five women wearing masks and outrageous clothes occupied the amvon, came up to the altar and sang a song, using obscene words insulting the clergy and believers. They ignored warnings made by visitors and church attendants and escaped when cathedral guards attempted to detain them.

The incident caused strong public uproar. Nevertheless, there is no unanimous opinion among the media yet as to how the incident should be qualified - whether it was an act of hooliganism entailing sanctions as a crime or an administrative violation which entails a milder punishment.

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