Pussy Riot members charged for World Cup final protest

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A pitch invader, a member of the Russian protest-art group Pussy Riot, is escorted by stewards during the Russia 2018 World Cup final football match between France and Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 15, 2018.

Authorities in Moscow have charged four members of the punk protest group Pussy Riot with “violation of spectators’ rights” when they ran onto the field during the World Cup final. Two have been sentenced to 15 days in jail.

A court on Monday sentenced Veronika Nikulshina and Olga Kuracheva after finding them guilty of violating the law on behavior of sports events spectators. They were also banned from attending sports events for three years.

It was not immediately clear when the cases of the other two protesters would be decided.

The protesters, two men and two women wearing police uniforms,interrupted the title match between France and Croatia early in the second half at Moscow’s 81,000-seat Luzhniki Stadium. The interruption was seen by Russian President Vladimir Putin from his VIP box and by international broadcast audiences watching one of the world’s most viewed sporting events.

Pussy Riot issued statements on social media calling for the curtailing of policing powers and other reforms in Russia. The group has antagonized Putin for years and members have served time in prison for staging various high-profile protests.

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