Photo evoking Pussy Riot pulled from IKEA website

From Reuters:

MOSCOW, Sept 23 (Reuters) – Furniture firm IKEA has removed a photograph from its Russian website of people in colourful ski masks like those worn by punk band Pussy Riot, three of whose members were jailed after staging a protest against Vladimir Putin in a church.

The picture, which showed four people in the masks sitting on IKEA furniture, had been posted on a section of the site which displays photographs of customers posing at stores.

A notice on the website confirmed the image had been removed and said: “IKEA is a commercial organisation that conducts its activity outside of politics and religion.”

“We cannot allow our advertising project to be used as a platform for campaigning of any kind,” it added.

Pussy Riot’s Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich were convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred after belting out a song criticising Putin, then prime minister and now president, in Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral in February. They were handed two-year jail terms.

The brightly coloured balaclava masks they wore during the protest have become the band’s trademark. A large opposition protest in Moscow last weekend featured big balloons with the mask design and the words “Free Pussy Riot”.

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