Protesters Rally For Jailed Russian Band Outside Embassy In D.C.

WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — About a dozen demonstrators were protesting outside the Russian Embassy in Washington as three members of the provocative punk band Pussy Riot were found guilty of hooliganism.

The protesters, who arrived at the embassy on Wisconsin Avenue at daybreak Friday, held bright yellow signs reading “Free Pussy Riot.” The protest was hosted by Amnesty International, which said it gave the embassy a petition on Tuesday with 70,000 signatures asking for the prisoners to be released.

Later Friday, a Russian court sentenced each of the three band members to two years in prison. The trial has drawn international outrage and several celebrities have also called for the band members to be freed.

The women have remained in jail following their arrest more than five months ago for denouncing President Vladimir Putin during a protest inside of a church.

Other protests were planned in five other U.S. cities, including New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, Portland, Ore. and San Francisco.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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