One arrest was made at a protest outside the Russian embassy yesterday that concerned the arrest and detention of the band Pussy Riot last March.
The band were arrested last March after performing a song in a church calling for Russian President Vladimir Putin to be removed from power. They have been in jail ever since, and were recently denied bail. They face seven years in prison for “hooliganism”.
The case has aroused international attention and protest to what is seen by many to be a political arrest, and Iceland is no exception. Yesterday, about 50 people protested outside the Russian embassy, calling for Pussy Riot’s release. María Lilja Þrastardóttir, who was among the protesters, told Vísir that the police were already waiting for them when they arrived, and that they were heavily equipped.
The protest was for the most part peaceful, but one arrest was made when a protester defied a police order to move away from the embassy’s flagpole, as he attempted to send a ski mask – one of the iconic emblems of Pussy Riot – up the flagpole, and succeeded. At this point, embassy employees emerged and asked for police help with untangling the flagpole rope from the gate and clearing the area of protest signs and ski masks.
Snærós Sindradóttir, one of the organisers of the protest, said that she felt it was not unusual that the situation got heated, as a heavy police presence will tend to do that.
A video of Pussy Riot’s performance and subsequent arrest can be seen below:
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