Feminist Punk Rockers begin Hunger Strike in Russia
In jail for criticizing Putin, three Russian punk rockers begin a hunger strike.
"Virgin Mary Put Putin Away"
Pussy Riot is the name of an all-female, feminist, Russian punk rock band. In March, three of the band's five members were arrested and jailed without bail on charges of "criminal hooliganism" for performing a song critical of Vladimir Putin at a concert in February, held inside the Russian Orthodox Church's main cathedral. The song, was titled "Virgin Mary Put Putin Away."
The charges against the three women - Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Yakaterina Samutsevich and Maria Alyokhina, carry sentences of up to seven years in prison.
Wednesday, July 4, 2012, the three were told they had to be ready for trial by July 9th, but they were not allowed any time to prepare. As a result, they have begun a hunger strike. Tolokonnikova said, "I announce a hunger strike because it is unlawful. She was photographed in her cell wearing a T-shirt with the famous slogan from the Spanish Civil War, "No pasaran," - "they shall not pass." "I am categorically against it and I announce a hunger strike, Alyokhina also said.
The case has generated much media attention, and all over the world activists are advocating for Pussy Riot's release. Over one hundred Russian cultural figures, some very pro-government, are advocating for the group's release. They released a letter which read "We see no legal basis or practical reason for the further isolation of these young women, who do not pose any real danger to society."
The Russian Orthodox Church has been criticized for not intervening in the case and calling for mercy. It has instead criticized the women for what it sees as an attack on its authority - another sad example of organized religion supporting the repression of the state, as it has done for centuries.
Link: Moscow Flash Mob: Puttin on the Ritz
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Photo of Nazdezhda and video from commondreams.org