Pussy Riot found guilty, local and global protests today

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We're all Pussy Riot now.
PHOTO BY IGOR MUKHIN

Today, three members of the Russian activist punk band Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years in prison for “hooliganism” stemming from an incident in February, when the trio performed its anti-Putin “Punk Prayer” inside a Russian Orthodox cathedral

Following the verdict, there will be global protests today including one at the Russian Consulate in San Francisco at 3pm and at Justin Herman Plaza at 6:30pm.

It's a case that has sparked international interest, and become a cause célèbre for musicians and feminists worldwide. Those who have spoken out against the harsh treatment of the trio (who were kept in a cage during the trial, and forced, along with the entire courtroom, to stand for two hours while the judge droned on with the verdict) include Kathleen Hanna – who called the trial a farce – and Yoko Ono, Madonna, Paul McCartney, Pete Townshend, Peaches, and dozens more.

During that verdict reading, the judge said Pussy Riot "committed an act of hooliganism, a gross violation of public order showing obvious disrespect for society."

According to Reuters, Moscow's US embassy said the sentence appeared disproportionate to what the defendants did.

The women, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Marina Alyokhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30 (two of whom are mothers to young children) have said the performance, in which they donned colorful ski masks,was a protest against Vladimir Putin's ties with the church. The song was less than a minute long, and now the group is set to spend two years in prison for it.

The lyrics of the “Punk Prayer” are below:

St. Maria, Virgin, Drive away Putin
Drive away! Drive away Putin!
(end chorus)

Black robe, golden epaulettes
All parishioners are crawling and bowing
The ghost of freedom is in heaven
Gay pride sent to Siberia in chains

The head of the KGB is their chief saint
Leads protesters to prison under escort
In order not to offend the Holy
Women have to give birth and to love

Holy shit, shit, Lord's shit!
Holy shit, shit, Lord's shit!

(Chorus)
St. Maria, Virgin, become a feminist
Become a feminist, Become a feminist
(end chorus)

Church praises the rotten dictators
The cross-bearer procession of black limousines
In school you are going to meet with a teacher-preacher
Go to class - bring him money!

Patriarch Gundyaev believes in Putin
Bitch, you better believed in God
Belt of the Virgin is no substitute for mass-meetings
In protest of our Ever-Virgin Mary!

(Chorus)
St. Maria, Virgin, Drive away Putin
Drive away! Drive away Putin!
(end chorus)

The case, of course, extends far beyond this activist band, questioning bubbling questions of free speech in Putin's Russia. Thousands are taking a stand, protesting in Barcelona, Berlin, Bonn, Dublin, Hamburg, Kaliningrad, Kiev, London, M
arseille, Melbourne, Moscow, München/Munich, Murmansk, Nantes, New York City, Nice, Odessa, Paris, Perm, Reykjavik, Riga, Samara, Stockholm, St. Petersburg, Tel Aviv, Toronto, Toulouse, Tournai, Belgium, Tver, Västerås, Vilinus, Warszawa, Wien/Vienna  – and San Francisco.

Russian Consulate protest
Fri/17, 3pm
2790 Green, SF

Justin Herman Plaza protest
Fri/17, 6:30pm
One Market, SF

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