Watch Cossacks attack Pussy Riot with whips in Sochi

Disturbing footage shows violent assault by Russian guards as the punk group attempted to stage another protest

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Pussy Riot clearly weren't put off protesting in Sochi, despite being detained yesterday by police. This afternoon, they attempted to stage a political protest but were violently set upon by Cossack guards patrolling the city. 

In the video from Sky News above, you can see members of Pussy Riot – including Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, who were recently released from prison – in the beginnings of staging "Putin Will Teach us To Love the Homeland", their new protest song. A Cossack in a fur hat walks up to the protesters with a leather whip and beginning to flog the women. He then attacks a cameraman filming the episode. More guards step in, shouting at Pussy Riot in Russian, and rip off their balaclavas. Later on in the video, Tolokonnikova is forced to the ground with a scream and is hit in the back. 

"Under the banner Sochi 2014, to the sound of 'Putin will teach us to love the homeland', Cossacks attacked Pussy Riot, beat us with whips and sprayed a lot of pepper gas at us," Tolokonnikova tweeted. She also retweeted a picture of a fellow activist with blood on his face (below).

For those of you who thought Cossacks were cuddly Russians in fur hats from folklore, they're actually an incredibly fierce ultra-Orthodox group with roots going back to the 15th century – they're comparable to Gurkhas or Japanese samurai for their code of honour and fighting spirit. Thanks to Putin, they've gained status as an icon of Russian nationalism and were called in as extra security forces during the Sochi Olympics. Somehow, we doubt that'll put off Pussy Riot. 

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