Skip to main content

Pussy Riot members attacked in Russian city while eating at McDonald's

By Jethro Mullen, CNN
updated 4:05 AM EST, Fri March 7, 2014
A screen capture from a Youtube video posted by Russian punk band Pussy Riot shows members' faces smeared in paint after an attack in a McDonald's.
A screen capture from a Youtube video posted by Russian punk band Pussy Riot shows members' faces smeared in paint after an attack in a McDonald's.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Unidentified men throw trash and squirt paint in the women's faces at a McDonald's
  • They shout obscenities and tell the women to leave and go to America
  • The dissident band members say they wanted to help local prisoners
  • The two Pussy Riot members were released from prison in December

(CNN) -- Two members of the dissident Russian punk band Pussy Riot were attacked by a group of men while eating breakfast at a McDonald's restaurant in a Russian city on Thursday.

The unidentified men threw trash and squirted paint at the two band members, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, in the city of Nizhny Novgorod, about 400 kilometers (250 miles) east of Moscow.

The band members posted a video of the attack online, which left them with paint smeared over their faces.

The video shows a group of about six men assaulting the women, who are seated at a table. The men shout obscenities and tell the women to get out of the city and go to America. Tolokonnikova cries out at one point, stumbling away from the table holding her face.

Sochi police whip Pussy Riot while on cam
Pussy Riot detained in Sochi
Pussy Riot members' hunger strikes

Pussy Riot gained international attention in 2012 after members of the band were arrested for performing an expletive-ridden song denouncing Russian President Vladimir Putin in a Russian Orthodox cathedral in Moscow.

Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina, who both have young children, were sent to prison after being convicted of hooliganism and inciting religious hatred. Russian authorities freed the pair in December.

Several other high-profile critics of the Russian government were released ahead of the Winter Olympics, which took place in the resort of Sochi last month.

Nearly two years in prison failed to silence Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina. After their release, they immediately resumed their denunciations of the Kremlin, as well as the conditions that inmates endure in Russian prisons.

Their continued activism has kept them in conflict with Russian authorities.

They went to Sochi during the Olympics to voice their concerns. While there, they were briefly detained by police and beaten by a group of Cossacks.

In the video of Thursday's attack, Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina said they had gone to Nizhny Novgorod because they heard of prisoners' rights being violated there and wanted to help.

CNN's Jane Caffrey and journalist Ruslan Semchyshyn contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 4:06 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
ITN's Dan Rivers reports from the hospital where those injured by an attack in Gaza were being treated.
updated 2:08 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Flight attendants are wearing black ribbons to show solidarity with fallen colleagues in "a tribute to those who never made it home."
updated 4:16 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Hamas: "Lift the siege." Israel: "End the rockets." The two sides' demands will be difficult to reconcile.
updated 4:04 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
When the Costa Concordia and its salvage convoy finally depart Giglio, the residents will breathe a sigh of relief -- and shed a tear.
updated 4:53 PM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
CNN's Richard Quest speaks to Malaysia Airlines' Hugh Dunleavy about how the airline industry needs to react to MH17.
updated 4:42 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
From Maastricht to Melbourne, and baroque theaters to block-long warehouses, these stores make bookish travelers look stylish.
updated 2:57 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
A nun, an AIDS researcher, an athlete and a family traveling on summer vacation. These were some of the victims aboard MH17.
updated 8:21 PM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Prince George isn't your average one year old. He started walking before he was one. Oh, and, he's going to be king -- of 16 countries.
updated 2:21 AM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
In an ambitious plan to upgrade urban India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he will build 100 "smart cities" across the country.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
updated 9:17 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
After just one day of competition, a new sport has emerged at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow: snapping selfies with the Queen.
ADVERTISEMENT