Chicago Says Free Pussy Riot

CHICAGO—(ENEWSPF)—August 17, 2012. 

On Friday, August 17 at 4:30 p.m. Chicagoans will rally outside City Hall,, 121 N. LaSalle, in support of Pussy Riot, a feminist Russian art collective whose members were arrested in February for an anti-Putin “Punk Rock Prayer” performed at Christ the Savior Church, Moscow, Russia. The three women–two of whom have young children–now face years in prison on the politically motivated charge of “hooliganism.” Public figures including Madonna, Paul McCartney, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers have championed Pussy Riot’s cause, but the group’s attorneys have expressed virtual certainty that a conviction is pre-ordained by Putin’s administration.

The band, immediately recognizable by their trademark brightly colored balaclavas, has spoken strongly against what they perceive as a repressive Russian government that is exploiting the Orthodox religion in service to Russia’s corporate elite. Months of worldwide protest including a live concert sponsored by Amnesty International last week in Washington, DC–culminate today, on August 17, timed to coincide with the announcement of the Russian court’s verdict. In cities across the globe, activists will don brightly colored balaclavas in solidarity with those facing prison time for exercising their right to free speech.

Local activist coalitions including Occupy Chicago, Amnesty International, RAD, Coalition Against Corporate Higher Education (CACHE), and 21 Jump Street Crew have banded together to express their solidarity for those imprisoned.

“People shouldn’t be locked up for trying to make things better. No one should be jailed for speech,” said Ryan Metz, a neurobiologist at the University of Chicago. “Activists, people of color, and people in impoverished communities face this state repression daily. Even in Chicago, under Mayor 1%’s Sit Down and Shut Up ordinances, Occupy Chicago members were jailed. The NATO5 are caged for daring to stand up against the NATO’s war machine.”

“This is yet another example of the state oppressing any who dare challenge it,” said Arielle Amiri, a student organizer with (CACHE). “We will stand in solidarity and fight for political freedom from Chicago across the world to Moscow.”

“I am not afraid of your [the Kremlin’s] poorly concealed fraud of a verdict in this so-called court because it can deprive me of my freedom,” said Maria Alyokhina, 24, a defendant in the trial. “No one will take my inner freedom away.”

For more information:

Amnesty International Action Page: http://takeaction.amnestyusa.org/siteapps/advocacy/ActionItem.aspx?c=6oJCLQPAJiJUG&;b=6645049&aid=517749

Free Pussy Riot home page: http://takeaction.amnestyusa.org/siteapps/advocacy/ActionItem.aspx?c=6oJCLQPAJiJUG&;b=6645049&aid=517749

Closing statement from the women: http://www.businessinsider.com/pussy-riot-trial-nadezhda-tolokonnikovas-closing-statement-2012-8