1. Inhalt
  2. Navigation
  3. Weitere Inhalte
  4. Metanavigation
  5. Suche
  6. Choose from 30 Languages

News

Four arrested in 'Pussy Riot' demonstrations

Four people were arrested in front of a Moscow cathedral Wednesday during a protest supporting jailed rock band Pussy Riot. The arrests were the latest in a string of incidents related to the controversial group.

The protesters, wearing the band's trademark colored balaclavas, were detained by Russian police after around 20 demonstrators gathered on the steps of Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior holding individual letters that spelled the phrase "Blessed are the merciful," the ITAR-TASS news agency reported.

Police told the Interfax news agency they were called to the scene by cathedral security staff and detained four protesters on possible charges of public disorder and gathering illegally.

Moscow-based newspaper "Novaya Gazeta" offered a different account of events.

"Cathedral guards used gross physical force against activists and journalists. They beat correspondents and tried to take cameras away from photographers," the newspaper wrote.

Three members of Pussy Riot - Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich - are currently on trial for hooliganism motivated by religious hatred. The charges stemmed from a February flashmob-style performance at a Russian Orthodox church in which the band sang a song insulting Russian president Vladimir Putin. They face a maximum seven year jail sentence, although prosecutors have asked for three years in a corrective labor facility. The women have been in pre-trial detention for five months

The trial is being closely watched by the international community as a test case of the Kremlin's willingness to tolerate political dissent. A verdict in the trial is expected Friday.

Protests elsewhere

Pussy Riot members, from left, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Yekaterina Samutsevich and Maria Alekhina sit in a glass cage at a court room in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Aug. 3, 2012.

Three members of Pussy Riot have been in detention for five months

Elsewhere on Wednesday, Canadian-born performance artist Peaches posted a video on YouTube, Facebook and other social media sites expressing her support for Pussy Riot, and calling for the "lynching" of Putin. In the video for her new song "Free Pussy Riot," Peaches blames Putin for the prosecution of the trio. The song plays against the backdrop of a protest in a Berlin park last week organized by the 45-year-old singer, who lives in Germany and has a large cult following.

In Finland, Finnish president Sauli Niinistoe said Wednesday that respect for human rights in Russia has deteriorated since Putin's election to the presidency in May. Putin previously served as prime minister, though he was president from 1999 until 2008.

"It is too early to say yet, but the general assessment seems to be that there has been a tightening of the strings in a certain way, and it has happened more quickly than had been expected," Niinistoe said in an interview with Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat. In the interview, however, Niinistoe did not discuss the Pussy Riot case.

A brief protest in support of the band also took place in the Austrian capital of Vienna on Tuesday. Four people held up a banner on Tuesday on the altar of Saint Nicholas cathedral in Vienna "defending this group, the name of which I am sorry but I will not repeat," a church official told AFP.

bm/ rc (AFP, dpa)