Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final

Russian protest group claimed responsibility after four people ran onto field in police uniforms

Security stewards remove people who ran onto the pitch and briefly stopped the final match between France and Croatia at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, July 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

Russian protest group Pussy Riot claimed responsibility Sunday for four people who brought the World Cup final to a brief halt by running onto the field dressed in police uniforms.

The three women and one man who charged onto the field simultaneously in the 52nd minute of one of the world’s most watched sporting events were tackled to the ground by stewards. Croatia defender Dejan Lovren pushed the man, helping a steward to detain him.

Before being hauled away, one of the women managed to reach the centre of the field and share a double high-five with France forward Kylian Mbappe.

“Hello everyone from the Luzhniki field, it’s great here,” the heavily political punk band said on Twitter , and released a statement calling for the freeing of political prisoners, an end to “illegal arrests” of protesters and to “allow political competition” in Russia.

Their statement also referenced the case of Oleg Sentsov, a vocal opponent of Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, who was sentenced in 2015 to 20 years for conspiracy to commit terror acts. He denies the charges and has been on a hunger strike since mid-May.

The group said the police uniforms symbolized how Russian police’s actions fall short of their “heavenly” depiction in literature and called for reforms. It wasn’t clear if they used the uniforms as a ruse to enter the Luzhniki Stadium amid tight security, and the group couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

READ MORE: France doubles up Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup

“The citizens in question were taken to the local police station,” the Moscow branch of the Russian Interior Ministry said, without providing further details.

Pussy Riot rose to global prominence with their daring outdoor performances critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2012 that sent two members to prison for nearly two years. Putin was watching the game alongside his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron and FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

The group was previously known for wearing brightly colored balaclavas, though those who protested Sunday did so with their faces uncovered.

FIFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The protest was briefly shown on international TV broadcasts, even though FIFA policy is usually to cut away from field invasions.

James Ellingworth, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Retro meets modern design with idea for iconic Paramount sign

Proposed Paramount Project plans for downtown Chilliwack unveiled Monday

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

Flight Fest to take off in Chilliwack once again

After a year-long break, Flight Fest is returning to the Chilliwack airport

Column: Golf about to modernize rule book

A series of changes taking effect in the new year aim to make the game friendlier for all ages.

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

B.C. not prepared for a Humboldt Broncos bus crash, group says

An air ambulance advocacy group wants an overhaul of B.C.’s emergency medical system in rural regions

Liberals look at creating federal holiday to mark legacy of residential schools

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde said day to recognize painful legacy would boost understanding

Mounties deployed to help B.C. communities affected by wildfires

RCMP officers heading to places particularly within central, northern and southern B.C.

Interim GoFundMe payments approved in Humboldt Broncos crash

$50,000 to be given to each of the 13 survivors and each family of the 16 people who died

B.C. gangster charged after man allegedly beaten with a golf club

Langley man facing aggravated assault charge after incident allegedly involved golf club and machete

Are you Canada’s next Masterchef?

Home cooks looking to follow their cuisine dreams can apply now.

Regional climate adaptation agriculture testing to expand in B.C.

Ottawa funds farm projects to conserve water, remove invasive species

VIDEO: B.C. RCMP officers excel in Amazing Race Canada Heroes Edition

Courtney and Taylor Callens have become the team to beat

Most Read