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French Pussy Riot Arrests Over Illegal Balaclavas

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French demonstrators protesting against the jailing of Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot have been arrested - because of the country's controversial 'niqab' law.

Several of the 30 demonstrators in Marseille, marching outside the Russian consulate, wore the trademark luminous balaclavas which the members of the punk band wore whilst performing their "punk prayer" at Moscow's cathedral.

La Provence newspaper reported that around seven of the protesters were arrested and detained, with the demonstration broken up by police

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French protesters demonstrate in support of Pussy Riot

A senior officer told the newspaper: "They are wearing balaclavas in a public space. It's illegal."

The protesters removed their masks at the police request but were driven away in a riot van but later released. The penalty for wearing a face-covering can be €150 fine, apart certain exceptions including a helmet, a fencing mask or as part of a carnival.

The controversial law was passed by former president Nicolas Sarkozy, which banned the wearing of a full face veil in April 2011.

Protests raged worldwide this weekend after the three members of Pusy Riot were sentenced to two years each in prison.

In Ukraine, four feminist activists, one of them topless, used a chainsaw to hack down a wooden cross in Kiev's central square in a show of support. More than 50 brightly-dressed protesters sang Pussy Riot songs outside Gaudi's Sagrada Familia church.

Other protests were seen in Washington, Bulgaria, New York, Copenhagen and London also donned the colorful masks — and some men at the gathering in the British capital even wore dresses in solidarity.

Adam Adamson, who organised the protest, told the Associated Press: "These three girls are just the tip of the iceberg. Many have been arrested because they were opposing Putin."

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SEE ALSO

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Pop Stars Urge Putin To Release Punk Band Pussy Riot

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