Members of the punk rock group Pussy riot were beaten by whips during a protest in Sochi Wednesday.

The encounter between the group and Cossack militia, who are used by the police to patrol city streets, was captured on video and in photos. The whole incident lasted less than five minutes. Police arrived later and questioned witnesses but no arrests were made.

The protest took place the day after members of the group were detained for questioning by police. They were later released.

High-profile group member Maria Alyokhina posted several photos on Twitter of the aftermath of the attack.

The Cossacks have a long military history in Russia, serving in the cavalry of the czars and helping defeat the Nazis during the Second World War. They have recently re-emerged as a force in southern Russia.

Pussy Riot, known for their illegal punk performances in colourful masks, rose to international prominence in 2012 after a protest against Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow's main cathedral.

Members Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were arrested and imprisoned. They were released in December as the result of a new amnesty bill.

There has been controversy of late over whether Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova are still officially members of Pussy Riot. Earlier in February, members of the collective published a letter attacking the two most famous members of the group and stating that they are no longer part of the group. Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova continue to say they represent Pussy Riot.

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  • Members of the punk group Pussy Riot, including Nadezhda Tolokonnikova in the blue balaclava and Maria Alekhina in the pink balaclava, are attacked by Cossack militia in Sochi, Russia, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

  • A Russian security officer attacks Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and a photographer as she and fellow members of the punk group Pussy Riot, including Maria Alekhina, left, stage a protest performance in Sochi, Russia, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

  • Members of the punk group Pussy Riot, including Nadezhda Tolokonnikova in the blue balaclava and Maria Alekhina in the pink balaclava, are attacked by Cossack militia in Sochi, Russia, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

  • A member of the punk group Pussy Riot lies on the ground as the group is attacked by Cossack militia in Sochi, Russia, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

  • A member of the punk group Pussy Riot is restrained by Cossack militia after the group tried to perform in Sochi, Russia, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

  • A Cossack militiaman attacks Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and a photographer as she and fellow members of the punk group Pussy Riot, including Maria Alekhina, center, in the pink balaclava, stage a protest performance in Sochi, Russia, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

  • A Russian security officer records members of the punk group Pussy Riot Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, right, and Maria Alekhina, center, after they were attacked by Cossack militia in Sochi, Russia, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

  • A photographer is whipped by a member of the Cossack militia while trying to photograph members of the punk group Pussy Riot being attacked by Cossack militia and a Russian security officer, in Sochi, Russia, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)