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Stefan and Jason St. Laurent hold up a sign supporting the Russian punk band at a demonstration in Ottawa outside the Russian embassy. Amanda Pfeffer/CBC

About 20 demonstrators gathered across the street from the Russian embassy in Ottawa on Friday to protest the conviction on hooliganism charges of the punk band Pussy Riot.

Judge Marina Syrova handed down the conviction Friday in a Moscow court to all the three members of the band. Each was sentenced to two years behind bars.

It's been five months since the members of the band — Tolokonnikova, 22, Maria Alekhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30 — were arrested and became an international cause célèbre after staging an anti-Putin protest in Moscow's main cathedral.

Protesters stayed on one side of Charlotte Street opposite the embassy and shouted as diplomatic staff left the building, calling for the band's freedom. Four RCMP officers were stationed at the embassy.

"These three women were arrested solely for a peaceful protest, which makes them a prisoner of conscience," said Shauna MacLean of Amnesty International Canada.

"This isn't just happening in isolation in Russia, the Russian authorities are really cracking down on freedom of expression and it's a real concern for us," said MacLean.

A protest attracted more than a hundred demonstrators outside the Russian consulate in Toronto, and protests were also held in dozens of cities around the world.