SIMFEROPOL, October 3 (RIA Novosti) – A screening of the documentary “Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer” was shut down on Wednesday night in southern Ukraine when a group of masked men smoke-bombed the venue and proceeded to beat and mace moviegoers, an event organizer said Thursday.
The four or five assailants “threw several smoke bombs” inside the Karman (“Pocket”) cultural center in the Crimean city of Simferopol and attacked the about a dozen people in attendance, minutes before the screening was supposed to begin, event organizer Alexei Arunyan told RIA Novosti.
A man who worked for the venue was thrown to the floor and repeatedly kicked, while others were sprayed with eye irritants and beaten, he said, adding that the assailants then quickly fled the scene.
A police spokesman told RIA that paramedics determined that none of the moviegoers had been severely injured. Arunyan said the screening was postponed at least until the end of October because the venue is booked solid.
The film, a Russian-British collaboration released earlier this year, follows the stories of three members of the Pussy Riot punk band who were convicted of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” for performing a so-called prayer protest in which they called for the Virgin Mary to “banish” President Vladimir Putin in Moscow’s main Orthodox Christian cathedral last year.