Russia jails Pussy Riot members for World Cup pitch invasion

first_img\R Moscow, Jul 16 (AFP) Russia today jailed members of Pussy Riot feminist punk group for 15 days after they invaded the pitch during the World Cup final dressed in police uniforms. A Moscow court sentenced Veronika Nikulshina, Olga Kuracheva and Pyotr Verzilov to 15 days in police cells and also banned them from visiting sports events for three years, Mediazona court news site reported.They were found guilty of “grossly violating the rules for spectators’ behaviour” and given the maximum punishment possible under the charge.Verzilov is the founder of Mediazona website, which reports on trials of rights activists.The court was due late today to hear the case of one other protester: Olga Pakhtusova.The four ran onto the pitch at Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium on Sunday and briefly halted play in the second half of the match between France and Croatia, watched by President Vladimir Putin and world leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron.Pussy Riot immediately posted messages on social media claiming responsibility for the protest and issuing a list of six political demands.”Let all political prisoners free,” said the first.Others included an end to arrests at peaceful rallies and to “allow political competition in the country”.Pussy Riot is most famous for performing an anti-Putin protest song in a central Moscow church in February 2012.Three of the group’s members were convicted of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” at a trial that attracted global media attention and drew protests from rights groups.Group members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina were released after serving 22 months of their two-year sentences. The other convicted member Yekaterina Samutsevich was given a suspended sentence. (AFP) MRJMRJadvertisementlast_img read more

Macron to hold crisis meeting over ‘yellow vest’ protests

first_imgParis, Dec 10 (IANS) French President Emmanuel Macron will hold talks with business leaders and trade unions on Monday after a fourth weekend of the violent “gilets jaunes,” or “yellow vest” nationwide protests that have challenged his grip on power.Macron, who will also meet political leaders and local officials, wants to “hear their voices, their proposals and with the aim of mobilising them to act”, CNN quoted a spokeswoman for the Elysee Palace as saying on Sunday.Le Figaro newspaper said that Prime Minister douard Philippe and nine government ministers will also be present at Macron’s meeting.The meetings will come ahead of Macron’s address to the nation which is expected to centre around national unity. Macron is anticipated to urge the “gilets jaunes,” or “yellow vest” protesters to seek dialogue after a weekend in which 1,723 people were taken in for questioning and 1,220 were taken into custody, according to the Interior Ministry. Across the country, 135 people were reported injured.Macron is facing criticism with demonstrators marching against the rise of living costs, the scrapping of the “fortune tax” and accusations that the former banker has done little to address the inequality in French society.Further pressure grew over the weekend with police firing rubber bullets and hundreds of canisters of tear gas at the demonstrators, some of whom set vehicles on fire during Saturday’s protests.The protests, which have stretched as far and wide as the southern cities of Marseille and Toulouse, brought out 136,000 people across the country on Saturday, police said.About 8,000 police were on the streets of Paris and tens of thousands more deployed across the country.Paris landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre have been closed to the public, some metro stations were shut and sporting events across the country have been called off, CNN said.Originally a grassroots movement, the “gilets jaunes” first emerged online with Facebook events set up by citizens mostly from deprived rural areas.They began by coordinating road blockades across France to protest the fuel tax hike but the protests have since mushroomed into a broader demonstration of anger against Macron.An opinion poll on Friday suggested a dip in support for the protests, but it still stood at 66 per cent.Meanwhile, President Macron’s ratings have fallen to 23% amid the crisis, polls suggest.–IANSkskadvertisementlast_img read more