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Handful protest in Bratislava against Pussy Riot prosecution

A group of 20 people showed up in front of the Russian Embassy in Bratislava on Wednesday, August 8, to protest against the ongoing prosecution of three members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot. The women have been held in custody since March, when they performed a punk rock track entitled ‘Mother of God, Get Rid of Putin’ inside Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.

A group of 20 people showed up in front of the Russian Embassy in Bratislava on Wednesday, August 8, to protest against the ongoing prosecution of three members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot. The women have been held in custody since March, when they performed a punk rock track entitled ‘Mother of God, Get Rid of Putin’ inside Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.

Slovak activists, including former OKS MP Ondrej Dostál, said that what they called the persecution of the three young women has politics in the background. Dostál conceded that the form of protest chosen to by the women to oppose Prime Minister Vladimir Putin could have offended some Orthodox believers. "However, I consider it absolutely unacceptable to have people persecuted for such a protest in a free country," Dostál said, as quoted by the TASR newswire. "[It's unacceptable] to have young women held in custody for months and be put on trial under threat of seven years in jail."

The Bratislava demonstration was peaceful and took place under the supervision of police. The protesters listened to Pussy Riot music and read a letter of support for the arrested band members addressed to the Russian Ambassador and signed by some 250 people.

The SITA newswire wrote that the protest in Bratislava probably attracted more journalists than protesters. At around 17:00, it reported, there were fifteen protesters and twenty journalists in front of the embassy. The main organiser of the protest, Peter Weisenbacher, director of the Human Rights Institute, said he did not support the method of protest chosen by the defendants. "We are not saying that it is something we support or something we would do ourselves. We are saying that they should not be held for five months in prison for hooliganism," he told SITA.

Sources: TASR, SITA

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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