comments_image Comments

Pussy Riot Band Members Found Guilty As Protests Take Place Worldwide

 
 
Share

Supporters of Pussy Riot across the street from the Russian Embassy in Washington last week. Russia on Thursday placed the judge who will decide the fate of the three Pussy Riot singers under state protection as support mounted for the singers who insulte

 
 
 

This post has been updated.

Bad, but not unexpected, news out of Moscow from the trial of a few punk-rock provocateurs that the whole world was suddenly watching. In the end, three members of the band Pussy Riot were found guilty after what is widely-viewed as an authoritarian sham/circus trial, and will be sent to prison for expressing artistic dissent.

From the AP:

 

 

 

(MOSCOW) — A Russian judge found three members of the provocative punk band Pussy Riot guilty of hooliganism on Friday, in one of the most closely watched cases in recent Russian history.

The judge said the three band members committed hooliganism driven by religious hatred and offending religious believers.

The three were arrested in March after a guerrilla performance in Moscow’s main cathedral calling for the Virgin Mary to protect Russia against Vladimir Putin, who was elected to a new term as Russia’s president a few days later.

AlterNet has an earlier report about the trial, the defendants' incredible statements, and a video of the original "punk prayer" here. Sentencing was down later, and even Putin has stated he hoped it won't be very harsh.

Later reports indicated that this sentence includes time served since that fateful March day when they were initially arrested.

Protests against the incarceration of the group for exercising free speech have been taking place wordwide for some time, but they ramped up this week.

From the NY Times, a slightly condescending but vivid report of a star-power packed event on behalf of the band in NYC:

 

The solidarity event was organized in just a few days by the musician JD Samson and Robert Lieber, a proprietor of FreePussyRiot.org. It came on the eve of the Friday sentencing of the trio, who are still widely expected to receive a multiyear prison term, on charges of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.” Even by Russian standards, the trial has been roundly mocked as a farce, complete with barking dogs, a judge who feigned deafness when the defense objected, and denouncements of feminism as a “mortal sin.” It inspired a wave of pro-Pussy Riot sentiment, from the likes of Madonna, who re-upped her rebel cred by speaking about the group in Moscow, where she performed in a black bra with the words “Pussy Riot” written on her back; and Paul McCartney, who posted a letter on his Web site on Thursday, advising “Nadya, Katya & Masha” to “stay strong.” Kathleen Hanna, a founder of the riot grrrl movement that inspired Pussy Riot, cheered them on, and the new owners of CBGB announced that they would sell T-shirts to raise money for their families; some were passed out to the crowd at the Ace. Amnesty International also supported the event.

A series of protests are also scheduled for today  in New York, and more elsewhere:

The WSJ's Speakeasy blog reports on similar protests in London:

The punk band Pussy Riot has already received messages of support from famous Britons including Paul McCartney and the band Franz Ferdinand.

The goodwill continued Friday as about 300 Londoners packed into the basement cafe of the Royal Court Theatre in support of the Russian performance artists, who were sentenced by a Moscow court Friday to two years in prison for “hooliganism.”

In Russia, chess master Gary Kasparov was among those arrested protesting the verdict. Footage of him being dragged away is terrifying and reminiscent of the height of the Occcupy protests. 

 

And Pussy Riot itself (some of whose members remain at large), uncowed, has released a new single today, "Putin Lights Up the Fires."

The solidarity is encouraging, but finally, as blogger Suzy-X reminds us, now is not the moment to pat ourselves on the back for our superiority to Russia, as authoritarian as this farce of a trial has been. Rather, let's turn inward and remember remember Bradley Manning, Marissa Alexander, and others. She writes,

Because the United States has its own political prisoners. Because the United States also harshly penalizes those who fight patriarchy, racism, and militarization in the best ways they know how.

Indeed--and then there are the detained immigrants and youth of color in jail on nonviolent drug charges. The list goes on and on.

 

 

 

 

AlterNet / By Sarah Seltzer

Posted at August 17, 2012, 5:43am

 
See more stories tagged with: