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Chicken-Wielding Protesters Target Pussy Riot in Sochi

SOCHI, Russia -- Chicken-wielding protesters targeted a press conference by Pussy Riot on Thursday where the punk band attacked their treatment by Russia's security forces.

Showing their support for President Vladimir Putin, demonstrators greeted Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina with the poultry they arrived at a venue in Sochi.

The chickens were a reference to a sexually explicit piece of performance art once carried out by a member of the group in a supermarket.

Members of the band said they had come to the home of the Winter Olympics to draw attention to a criminal case involving a May 2012 anti-Kremlin rally.

“Talking about it is more important that doing anything else now,” said Tolokonnikova, adding that they were aware that they risked arrest with their presence in the city.

Group members were whipped and pepper-sprayed by Russian Cossacks on Wednesday as they tried to perform in Sochi. Cossacks are militia members sometimes used by Russian authorities to patrol streets and they have been used to maintain a heavy security presence during the Winter Olympic Games.

Pussy Riot Members Whipped by Police 1:49

Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina were also detained for several hours on Tuesday about a theft at their hotel, but later released without charge.

Those same two members of the band were jailed for more than a year after they staged a protest against Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church inside a Moscow cathedral. Putin granted them amnesty in December, removing a point of tension with the West.

Henry Austin reported from London.