Sunday, 19 August 2012

Derry Rally for Free Speech! Free Pussy Riot!


Around 40 activists in Derry took part in the August 17th Global Solidarity event in support of the Russian Feminist punk band Pussy Riot.   

The demo itself included masked activists who put on a piece of street theatre blaring loud punk music out into the Guildhall Square and reading a number of declarations in support of Pussy Riot and free speech.  The evening prior to the solidarity event, activists placed a badge in support of Pussy Riot on a mural in Derry's Bogside. 

All these actions happened as hundreds of simultaneous rallies took place around the world just as Judge Marina Syrova prepared to deliver her verdict in the trial of three members of the female punk group. 

Subsequently all three women - Maria Alyokhina (24), Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (22), and Yekaterina Samutsevich (29) – were later convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, and sentenced to two years for "crudely undermined social order".  Back in February Pussy Riot performed their own profanity-laced anthem to the “Mother of God, Cast Putin Out” on the altar of Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ Our Saviour.

As activists left the Guildhall Square following Friday’s events many were of the opinion that “similar solidarity actions must continue locally to highlight the injustice of what was unfolding in Russia, to other political activists and to free speech overall.  Activists have pledged to attend this years Foyle Pride rally at the end of August which takes place along the same route of the original civil rights march, an appropriate occasion to highlight such injustice as Putin’s government has also just recently banned the Moscow Gay Pride rally for the next 100 years”.