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Russian Sentencing Spurs Global 'Pussy Riots'

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The two-year sentence handed down to members of Russia’s feminist punk collective Pussy Riot spurred protests in dozens of cities around the world.

Subhead: 
The two-year sentence handed down to members of Russia’s feminist punk collective Pussy Riot spurred protests in dozens of cities around the world.







 

Protestors in Berlin on Aug. 17
Protestors in Berlin on Aug. 17
Grüne Bundestagsfraktion on Flickr under CC 2.0
 

(WOMENSENEWS)—Three women in the Russian feminist punk collective Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years in prison for hooliganism and inciting religious hatred, reported Ria Novosti Aug. 17.

That spurred “Free Pussy Riot” rallies in a few dozen cities around the world on Aug. 17.

The Facebook event page for New York City asked protestors to “PLEASE: Bring signs, wear bright colors (see Pussy Riot for inspiration) and bring a noisemaker and/or stringed instrument…[and] balaclava masque.”
 
The page lists the St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, the Russian consulate and Times Square as the main stops. Six of these protestors were arrested, apparently for blocking traffic and refusing to remove masks worn in solidarity with the band members, reported the AP. The Gothamist posted pictures of the protestors.
 
The AP reported that activists in Ukraine tore down a cross in the capital’s main square, Parisian protestors booed the verdict, and around 50 in Barcelona danced to the band’s songs in front of the Sagrada Familia church.
 
The members of Pussy Riot -- Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Maria Alyokhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30 -- were arrested in March after performing an unannounced "punk prayer" in a Moscow cathedral. Wearing bright balaclavas, or ski masks, they called for the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of President Vladimir Putin, reported the New York Times.
 
A translated letter that Tolokonnikova wrote while in prison said in part, “Our imprisonment has served as a clear and obvious sign that the whole country is being robbed of freedom.” At another point of the letter she wrote, “Second-Wave Feminists said the personal is political. That’s how it is. The Pussy Riot case has shown how the individual troubles of three people facing charges of hooliganism can give life to a political movement.”
 
Under Russian law, the five months they have already served while waiting for the verdict will count as 10 months toward the sentence.
 
 
Samantha Kimmey is a writer in Brooklyn, N.Y. covering women and politics this election season