IOC warns Pussy Riot members against protesting at Sochi Winter Games

Wearing masks members of Russian punk group Pussy Riot, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (left) and Maria Alyokhina (right) speak to journalists while leaving the police station of Adler, near Sochi, on Feb 18, 2014, after her arrest earlier in the host city o
Wearing masks members of Russian punk group Pussy Riot, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (left) and Maria Alyokhina (right) speak to journalists while leaving the police station of Adler, near Sochi, on Feb 18, 2014, after her arrest earlier in the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Wednesday warned anti-Kremlin punk group Pussy Riot against staging any actions outside the Sochi Games venues, saying this would be "wholly inappropriate". -- PHOTO: AFP

SOCHI, Russia (AFP) - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Wednesday warned anti-Kremlin punk group Pussy Riot against staging any actions outside the Sochi Games venues, saying this would be "wholly inappropriate".

Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, who were released from Russian penal colonies under an amnesty late last year, are currently in Sochi but were detained by police for several hours on Tuesday.

They have been in the Olympics host city since the start of the week with the aim of recording another video performance hostile to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Asked whether Pussy Riot would be able to stage a protest inside the Olympic Park where the main venues are located, IOC spokesman Mark Adams replied: "If they did, it would be wholly inappropriate."

Mr Adams also distanced the IOC from the controversy over the arrest on Tuesday, which rights groups described as a public relations disaster that cast a new shadow over the Games.

"I understand that it (the arrest) was not in the context of a protest against the Games," he said.

The police said the arrest was made in connection by complaints by their hotel about a theft. However, no charges have been pressed until now.

Amid the controversy over Russia's notorious anti-gay law, the IOC has made clear throughout the Games that it is against any discrimination but political protests are not welcome.

Transgender Italian ex-MP Vladimir Luxuria was escorted from the Games venue complex on Monday night after shouting pro-gay slogans.

Mr Adams said that the IOC had won assurances from Mr Putin ahead of the Games that the Olympic Charter would be respected in Sochi.

"That (the assurances) has been fully upheld," he said.

Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina were sent to penal colonies on a two year hooliganism sentence for performing an anti-Putin song in a Moscow church in 2012.

However they were freed early on amnesty in December last year.