Pussy Riot place rainbow flags on government buildings to mark Putin’s birthday, get arrested

Punk rock protestors Pussy Riot have ‘celebrated’ Russian President Vladimir Putin’s 68th birthday on Wednesday (7 October) by placing rainbow flags on five government buildings.

The LGBT+ protest resulted in police arresting band members yesterday (8 October). Officers rounded up at least five activists, including Pussy Riot members  Sasha Sofeev, Maria Alyokhina and Veronica Nikulshina.

In one message on Twitter, the group said:

‘Pussy Riot’s Sasha Sofeev is detained now. The police have broken into his home. Now he’s in the police station, facing potentially 30 days of arrest. Four other activists who participated in the rainbow flag action were detained earlier too, but they were let go before the trial.’

Meanwhile independent station TV Rain announced police arrested Alyokhina at their premises. She was due to do an interview with them.

TV Rain said (translated): ‘Police officers followed Maria Alyokhina to the second floor and detained her at the door of the editorial office.’

Demands about Chechnya and same-sex partners

The ‘Pussy Riot Rainbow Flag Action’ saw them hang LGBT+ rainbow flags outside five buildings in Moscow. These were the FSB headquarters, the Administration of the President, the Supreme Court building, the Ministry of Culture and a police station.

Meanwhile Pussy Riot also posted their demands.

These included ‘investigate the killings and kidnappings of gay, lesbian, transgender and queer people in Chechnya,’ ‘legalize same-sex partnerships’ and ‘stop harassment of activists and organizations who help the LGBTQ community’.

It is not the first time Pussy Riot have come into conflict with the police.

In February this year, police arrested 13 of the Pussy Riot crew at a shoot for their queer and feminist themed video. The authorities claimed the video would be ‘gay propaganda’ – illegal in Russia.

In 2012, the courts sentenced three Pussy Riot members to two years jail for ‘hooliganism motivated by religious hatred’.

They had protested at a Russian Orthodox cathedral. The Orthodox Church has conspired with President Vladimir Putin to crack down on LGBT+ people in Russia.

Moreover in 2014 they performed as a protest at the Winter Olympics in Sochi. As a result, Cossacks, employed as security guards, attacked them with whips and pepper spray.


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