The World Reacts to Pussy Riot Trial

By Slava Tsukerman

On the August 17 NewsLanc informed its readers that the Moscow trial of three members of the punk band Pussy Riot, which was a subject of my two last correspondences, was over.

A Moscow judge sentenced young women to two years in prison.

Four participants of the earlier protests near Khamovniki courthouse were sentenced to administrative arrest for a term of 5 to 10 days.

In the morning August 17 the police blocked off all approaches to the courthouse.  Nevertheless a crowd of about a thousand people had gathered near the entrance.  Protesters were chanting “Free Pussy Riot!” Among them were famous writers, TV personalities, and leaders of the political opposition.

Not far away from liberal crowd there was a crowd of their opponents. They were chanting “Put witches on the bonfire!” Police arrested about 20 protesters, including several leaders of the opposition. The World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov was charged with “biting a police officer”.

Russia is divided now into two aggressively opposing parts: pro-Pussy and anti–Pussy.

Very typical is a comment of Sergey Markov, a rector of the famous Plekhanov Institute of Economics:

“If Pussy Riot members are set free without punishment, then there is a high probability that the Russian nationalist groups will radicalize and will lynch singers of ‘punk-prayer’. If Pussy Riot will be forgiven, the next step will be more stringent blasphemy … such as having sex at the Church altars. If Pussy Riot were forgiven, then the Russian Orthodox believers would no longer be respected in domestic conflicts.”

Meanwhile protest movement took new forms. On Friday morning an activist was arrested at the metro station Belarus. He was putting balaclavas on the heads of sculptures of World War II Russian guerrillas.

All over Moscow activists are putting balaclavas on statues as a part of an ongoing campaign “Let’s Turn Moscow into Balaklava City.”

Rallies, flash mobs, marches, pickets and performances in support of Pussy Riot take place these days all around the world. There was a global campaign declared to support the punk band in more than 30 countries.

On Thursday August 16, I couldn’t get into Liberty Hall of New York Ace Hotel where a reading of the last speeches of the Pussy Riot Trial was performed. The hall was overcrowded. The line of about eight hundred people hoping to get in was around the block of Broadway and 29th Street.

In the morning of August 17 there was a rally at New York Time Square.

Here is information about the most interesting activities in support of Pussy Riot in different countries:

Berlin, Germany.
Here there was recorded music video for the song “Soli” by Canadian musician and artist Peaches. The song was written to express the solidarity with members of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot. The only condition for participation in the video was the presence of colorful clothes “style Pussy Riot”.

[youtube SaJ7GzPvJKw]

Reykjavik, Iceland

The Mayor of Reykjavik, Jon Gnarr, spoke in support of the arrested members of punk band Pussy Riot. Dressed in a pink dress and a balaclava, Gnarr rode through the streets in a cage setting on the roof of a car with a placard “Free Pussy Riot”.

[youtube 96XP_QbU580]

Vienna, Austria

Supporters of the group, dressed in colorful dresses and Balaclavas, climbed to the pulpit of the Cathedral of St. Nicholas in the center of Vienna and unfurled a poster with the words “God Loves Pussy Riot, Free Pussy Riot.”

Edinburgh, Scotland

Paris, France

At Montmartre there was a concert in support of the girls from the Pussy Riot. French punk groups Les Prouters, Les Punaises, Stygmate and ‘9 = 18’ declared their solidarity.

Sao Paulo, Brazil

Supporters of the punk band Pussy Riot gathered near the Russian Consulate in Sao Paulo. Topless girls with wreaths carried banners with slogans in favor of the accused girls and against Putin. All the participants were detained by police.

Helsinki, Finland

Three women in masks with slits for eyes stripped T-shirts and bared their breasts near the Russian embassy. On the body of each of them was written one word of the phrase: “Free Pussy Riot.”

London, Britain

Madrid, Spain

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova managed to send from prison a letter of gratitude to all of her and her friends’ supporters. Here it is:

http://eng-pussy-riot.livejournal.com/9618.html

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Updated: August 19, 2012 — 9:08 am
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