Russian police raid Pussy Riot video shoot for ‘gay propaganda’ but they’re not giving up

Russian punk band Pussy Riot is pushing ahead with its new video, despite police raiding the shoot twice accusing them of ‘gay propaganda’.

St Petersburg police say the feminists and LGBT+ rights champions are promoting ‘gay propaganda’. That is illegal under Russian federal law.

And the raids have forced them to raise more money to fund their new video shoot.

They are trying to make a music video called ‘RAGE’. The band says it is ‘dedicated to a pain that we – feminists and the queer people – feel being the enemies of the state’.

One of the lyrics is: ‘A police baton on my ribs, I’m singing with blood today.’

Police v Pussy Riot: raids and arrests

The band, famous worldwide for standing up to Putin and his Kremlin were filming on 9 February.

Around 150 people were involved in the shoot – most of them women or LGBT+.

But the cops said the ‘RAGE’ music video is ‘gay propaganda’. Footage from the scene shows police officers telling them: ‘Everything you do is illegal. It is not allowed to be doing an extremist activity.’

Moreover, the police shut off power to the studio and wouldn’t let them bring in a generator, so eventually they had to leave.

Police processing Pussy Riot members.
Police processing Pussy Riot members. Twitter

And police returned the next day and arrested 13 people. They included Pussy Riot activists Nadya Tolokonnikova and Sasha Sofeev, and an activist in a wheelchair who they named as ‘Iskander’.

The Pussy Riot crew later posed for a photo to celebrate their freedom.

Pussy Riot team released from police custody.
Pussy Riot team celebrate being released from police custody. Twitter

As they had only shot about 5% of the footage they intended, they say police ruined the shoot which cost them $15,000.

However, Pussy Riot insist they are not giving up. So far they have raised more than $4,000 to fund a new shoot.

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

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.

And in 2014 they performed at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, when Cossacks, employed as security guards, attacked them with whips and pepper spray.


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