Pussy Riot Shut Down Trump Tower To Advocate For The Release Of Political Prisoners In Russia

10.24.17 1 year ago

Russian protest punk group Pussy Riot took over the New York City Trump Tower on Monday to advocate for the release of political prisoners in Russia, a favored activity of the group since its inception. The group’s raucous protest music has gained new notoriety in light of recent events, even being covered by R&B superstar Miguel in one of his infamous Instagram acapella covers.

Three balaclava-clad members of Pussy Riot entered the Tower on Monday evening and unfurled a long banner that read, “Free (Oleg) Sentsov,” a Ukrainian film director currently serving 20 years in a Russian penal colony, from an upper floor overlooking the lobby. They also released a snowfall of pamphlets or photographs into the lobby as well, until they were stopped by security guards. Fortunately for the protesters, parts of the Tower are open to the public, so they were not arrested. However, the entire Tower was shut down for a full thirty minutes while the incident was cleared up.

Sentsov was convicted of terrorism by Russian authorities in 2015 — a conviction many supporters, including Amnesty International, disputed amid accusations of torture and coercion. Both the European Union and the United States condemned Sentsov’s detention and have called for his release.

In a Facebook statement, Pussy Riot declared their reasons for the takeover, saying, “We came to occupy Trump Tower to call attention to political prisoners. We believe that political prisoners and their protection are more important than the sexist bullsh*t that people have been focused on. Defending political prisoners is an issue that transcends borders. We are acting in solidarity against leaders like Putin, who has exercised authoritarian force and Trump, who is displaying authoritarian tendencies — because we all need to be fighting together on behalf of dissidents everywhere.”

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