Protests In Front Of Russian Embassy

17.8.2012
Words by Paul Fontaine
About 100 people are currently in front of the Russian embassy protesting the persecution of Russian punk rock band Pussy Riot, who are due to receive judgment today.

The band was arrested last February, after their performance in an Orthodox church in Russia, where they called upon the "mother of God" to remove Russian president Vladimir Putin from power. Since then, their trial has gained international attention.

In Iceland, protesters gathered at the Russian embassy last month, leading to one arrest. Iceland Airwaves directing manager Grímur Atlason has pledged to hold a punk rock concert outside of the Russian embassy and Russian Orthodox church every Thursday at noon, to voice disapproval for the continued detention of Pussy Riot. Amnesty Iceland is formally taking part in a global campaign against the Russian government being organised by Amnesty International. During last weekend's Gay Pride celebrations, Reykjavík mayor Jón Gnarr dressed as a member of the band while atop a float in last Saturday's Gay Pride parade, displaying a sign reading "Free Pussy Riot".

RÚV reports that police have cordoned off a large area in front of the Russian embassy and closed the street. There have so far been no arrests and the protest has been a peaceful one.

UPDATE: Sky News reports that the band have been found guilty of "hooliganism" and religious hatred. Prosecutors are asking for a sentence of three years in prison.

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