BARCELONA – A leading member of a Russian feminist punk band who was expelled from an aircraft for alleged drunkenness moments before departing Barcelona’s airport spent the early morning of Wednesday on a bus en route to the northern Italian city of Milan, where she was scheduled to perform in the evening, her tour promoter said.
Maria Alyokhina, a political activist and member of the band Pussy Riot, had been hauled off a plane at Barcelona’s El Prat international airport on Tuesday afternoon after the aircraft’s pilot requested the presence of Civil Guard officers due to the performer’s alleged rowdy behavior.
According to Spanish security forces, the incident took place as the Russian artists embarked on their scheduled flight to Milan after performing their last concert in Spain.
The pilot called the control tower as the plane was already taxiing for take-off due to Alyokhina’s allegedly riotous behavior, apparently under the effects of alcohol.
Faced with the situation in the cabin, the pilot turned around and headed back to the terminal, where police officers expelled Alyokhina and a companion of Belarusian nationality – who appears to be a crew member for the tour – from the plane.
The pair did not offer any resistance and abandoned the aircraft calmly, each holding a bottle of vodka.
The plane finally departed minutes later and the two had to find a bus to Milan and travel all night to make it in time for their performance.
On Feb. 9, Barcelona’s Sala Apolo venue had hosted the performance “Riot Days,” Pussy Riot’s latest theater-punk production directed by Maria Alyokhina with Kyril Masheka and the AWOTT (Asian Women On The Telephone) musical duo.
Pussy Riot, which originally hails from Moscow, was founded in March 2011, when they performed a series of provocative, unauthorized, punk-rock guerrilla showcases in unusual public places, which they later converted into music-video performances and published on the internet.
The group has a variable membership of around 11 women aged between 20-33 years. It gained global notoriety when five of its members staged a topless performance inside Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior before being stopped by security officials.
The Orthodox clergy condemned the group’s actions as sacrilegious but the Pussy Riot members said their protest was aimed at the church for their religious leaders’ support for President Vladimir Putin during his re-election campaign.
On March 3, 2012, two of the group’s members, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, were arrested and charged with hooliganism.