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

Langley Mounties get new tool to find drunk drivers

New legislation take effect this week that will allow broader breathalyzer testing.

BCIHL Young Stars lose hard-fought hockey game to Kazakhstan at Langley Events Centre

Coach calls it ‘a great opportunity for those guys to have an international experience’

How some Langley students used spare change, bake sales and candy-cane-grams to help the needy

This week, three families will have a better Christmas as a result

Road to the World Juniors leads through Langley

Finland plays Denmark on Wednesday, United States takes on Czech Republic on Saturday

How the Grinch stole a Langley senior’s Christmas

Mary Kydd said her car was broken into at her apartment’s underground parking garage last week.

Story of the Year: Deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash

The Canadian Press annual survey of newsrooms across the country saw 53 out of 129 editors cast their votes for the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.

Trump signs order to create US Space Command

President Donald Trump signs an executive order to create a U.S. Space Command.

Groups preparing new pipeline legal challenge, argue government’s mind made up

A Vancouver-based environment charity is readying itself to go back to court if the federal government reapproves the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Notorious Toronto triple killer gets third consecutive life sentence

Dellen Millard gets third consecutive life sentence for father’s death.

‘Subdued’ housing market predicted in B.C. through 2021: report

The Central 1 Credit Union report predicts “rising but subdued sales” over the next three years, with little movement in median home prices.

A journey through 2018’s top pop culture moments

Was there any pop culture this year? Of course there was.

‘A stronger Alberta:’ Ottawa announces $1.6B for Canada’s oil and gas sector

Price of Alberta oil plummeted so low that Alberta’s Premier said Canada was practically giving it away

Wicked weather, including heavy snow, rainfall, hammers southern B.C.

Environment Canada has posted winter storm warnings for the Coquihalla Highway, Highway 3

Caretaker jailed, must pay back money after stealing $260K from elderly B.C. couple

Antonette Dizon, now 50, had been hired to provide extra care for Henry and Helen Abfalter

Most Read