Members of a protest group who ran out to pitch during the World Cup final between France and Croatia wearing fake police uniforms have been jailed.
A Moscow court on handed down a 15-day jail sentence to the four members of the punk band who invaded the pitch early in the second half at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium. The judge also banned the four from attending sports events for three years.
The four were Veronika Nikulshina, Olga Pakhtusova, Olga Kurachyova and Pyotr Verzilov, the only male.
Kurachyova said their stunt, which held up the game only briefly, was meant to promote freedom of speech and condemn policies of FIFA, soccer’s global governing body.
“It is a pity that we disrupted the sportsmen,” Kurachyova told reporters on Monday.
“FIFA is involved in unfair games unfortunately. FIFA is a friend of heads of states who carry out repression, who violate human rights.
“Verzilov said the performance was also meant to show how “the state, in the form of the police, intrudes into people’s lives”.
They ran onto the pitch in the 52nd minute wearing hired police uniforms in the first significant security lapse in the five week tournament.
While they were jailed, they will not be sent to a Siberian hell penal colony as happened after a 2012 anti-Putin ‘punk prayer’ protest in a Moscow cathedral, according to the expected charges.