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Pussy Riot members cancel appearances, whereabouts unknown

Weekend performances in Helsinki by two members of the Russian political performance group Pussy Riot, as well as scheduled interviews, were cancelled on Saturday. According to a web posting on the group's site late in the day, the two had no intention of performing in Helsinki. Organizers say otherwise.

Kaksi Pussy Riotin jäsentä Helsingin Kaisaniemessä perjataina 24. toukokuuta.
Two masked members of Pussy Riot in Helsinki's Kaisaniemi Park on Friday. Image: Yle

Sources close to the group told organizers of this weekend's World Village Festival on Saturday that the two are safe, however.

The two members of the Russian political performance group, who use the names Puck and Headlights, were scheduled to appear onstage at the free festival in Kaisaniemi Park at 11am Saturday along with the popular Finnish female duo PMMP.

However, the two did not show up for the performance and organizers announced that their scheduled appearances had been cancelled. The Finnish publisher of a book by the group was unaware of their whereabouts.

Oksana Tselyseva, a human rights activist who belongs to a Pussy Riot support group, told Yle that when the two were to be picked up in the morning from the undisclosed accommodations where they were staying, they had disappeared without leaving a message. Tselyseva was unable to say if the two are still in Finland.

An European support group later in the day informed the Finnish group that the missing women were safe.

Concerns for their personal safety, and worries that their identities could be revealed seem to have led to the disappearance.

No intention of performing

Later during the day, the Pussy Riot members who were last seen in public in Helsinki on Friday posted a blog entry saying that they had not intended to perform at the World Village Festival. The text stated that Pussy Riot never gives advance notice of performances.

Mika Railo, a spokesperson for the Kepa volunteer organization in charge of festival arrangements told Yle that the cancellation came as a complete surprise.

"Still yesterday evening there were discussions with them about the details of the performance. We believed that everything would go just fine. This morning we then got notice of the cancellation," Railo explained.

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