Pussy Riot Responsible for World Cup Final Protest That Disrupted Game

Pussy Riot, an all-female Russian punk band and protest group, claimed it was responsible for four people who during the World Cup final Sunday rushed onto the field, disrupting the game.

The four people, dressed in old-fashioned-looking police uniforms, ran onto the field in the 52nd minute, according to The Associated Press. A female protester got to center field and gave a double high-five to France forward Kylian Mbappe shortly after he had a shot saved. Meanwhile, Croatia defender Dejan Lovren was able to push down a male protester, allowing a steward to catch him. All four people were detained by stewards.

"Hello everyone from the Luzhniki field, it's great here," Pussy Riot tweeted in Russian.

The group, which is known for wearing colorful balaclavas and protest lyrics, also released a statement on Facebook explaining the reason for the demonstration, which they called, “Policeman enters the Game.”

Pussy Riot stated that the date marked 11 years since the death of Russian poet Dmitri Prigov, who created an image of a policeman as a “carrier of the heavenly nationhood.” The group also referenced Oleg Sentsov, who opposed Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and was sentenced to 20 years for conspiracy to commit acts of terror, and has been on a hunger strike since mid-May.

“The heavenly policeman gently touches a flower in a field and enjoys Russian football team victories, while the earthly policeman feels indifferent to Oleg Sentsov’s hunger strike,” the statement reads. “The heavenly policeman rises as an example of the nationhood, the earthly policeman hurts everyone.”

“The heavenly policeman carefully watches for obeying the game rules, the earthly policeman enters the game not caring about the rules,” the statement also says. “The FIFA World Cup has reminded us of the possibilities of the heavenly policeman in the Great Russia of the future, but the earthly policeman, entering the ruleless game breaks our world apart.”

Pussy Riot then lists its demands as follows: “1. Let all political prisoners free. 2. Not imprison for 'likes'. 3. Stop Illegal arrests on rallies. 4. Allow political competition in the country. 5. Not fabricate criminal accusations and not keep people in jails for no reason. 6. Turn the earthly policeman into the heavenly policeman.”

The protest appeared on television briefly.

Pussy Riot drew international attention in 2012 with performances critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was watching the World Cup final.

07_15_18_PussyRiotWorldCup Members of protest group Pussy Riot speak during a press conference on February 20, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

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