Pussy Riot deny hooliganism charge

Russian punk band go on trial...

After three months in detention the members of Pussy Riot, who protested against Vladimir Putin in a “punk prayer” on the altar of Russia’s main cathedral, have gone on trial. All three members of the Russian punk band have pleaded not guilty to charges of hooliganism.

On their first day of trial, Monday July 30, Pussy Riot presented written apologies to believers for their performance at Christ the Saviour Cathedral. The protest saw four masked women dressed in colourful clothes, dancing on the cathedral altar singing a punk song called ‘Holy Shit’ with a chorus of ‘St Mary, Virgin, drive away Putin!’

Here is a video of the protest

The women - Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22; Maria Alyokhina, 24; and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29 – said that the venue for their impromptu performance might have been inappropriate, but they insisted that they had never been motivated by religious hatred, only a desire to persuade church leaders not to meddle in politics.

The band face up to seven years in prison if convicted.

It is a case that has divided Russia. Some think that the women have been treated too severely and others feel their actions grossly offended the Orthodox faith.

Sting, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Franz Ferdinand have all voiced support for the band at gigs in Moscow. Amnesty International have called for the release of Pussy Riot arguing that they are “prisoners of conscience.”

Pussy Riot burst onto the scene this winter with angry lyrics and surprise performances, including one on Red Square outside the Kremlin.

 

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