Russia: Punk band arrested after protesting against Putin

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Russia:
Punk band arrested after protesting against Putin

Shortly before the presidential elections in Russia, authorities put an end to punk band Pussy Riot’s anti-Putin protest concerts, held illegally in public places, by arresting six members of the band, reported the newspaper The Moscow Times.

You do not really need to be able to understand the Russian language in order to pick up how the lyrics of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot express anger against the now re-elected Russian president Vladimir Putin.

The band’s expressions of anger crossed the line for the authorities in Russia by performing with their protest music without permission in a number of outdoor, public places. A video clip can be seen on Youtube.com of an unlawfully conducted concert in Moscow’s main cathedral, Saviour Cathedral, of the Russian Orthodox Church, where Pussy Riot on 21 February 2012 played the song ‘Holy Shit’ as a protest against the Orthodox Church’s official support for Vladimir Putin.

Another video clip on Youtube.com of their performance at the Red Square – until police stopped their protest concert – had been seen by over half a million online viewers within its first week on the website.

Six arrests
Police arrested four band members – three women and one man – and then on election day, 4 March 2012, police arrested further two more of the members, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina who announced that they will go on hunger strike in prison in protest against the arrests and against the court’s decision to keep the band behind bars.

The Russian Interior Ministry announced in a press statement: “These citizens were taken in on suspicion of committing a crime, one involving a gross violation of public order, including inciting religious hatred as part of a planned conspiracy.”

Police also seized documents and other materials related to the band during the arrests, the ministry said.

Up to seven years in prison
A lawyer for the group, Nikolai Polozov, confirmed the arrests and identified the male band member who was detained as Pyotr Verzilov, a former member of the radical art group Voina.

If convicted the members of Pussy Riot stands to receive a prison sentence of up to seven years.



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Sources

Pussy Riot’s Journal:

pussy-riot.livejournal.com

Nachrichten – 7 March 2012:

‘Putin-kritische Punk-Rocker kurz vor Wahl festgenommen’

Danish Broadcasting Corporation, DR – 6 March 2012:

‘Punkband anholdt efter Putin-protest’

The Moscow Times – 5 March 2012:

‘Punk Band Charged in Cathedral Concert’

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