Riot for Rights raises awareness about Pussy imprisonment

The coffeehouse is meant to raise awareness of the unjust imprisonment of the members of Pussy Riot.
The coffeehouse is meant to raise awareness of the unjust imprisonment of the members of Pussy Riot. (Vicki Wang / Photo Assistant)

The College’s student chapter of Amnesty International presented a “Riot for Rights” open-mic coffeehouse in the Brower Student Center on Wednesday, Oct. 24.

Students from the College performed both covers and original material, as Amnesty International also provided a presentation area about the Russian punk-rock protest group Pussy Riot and the recent incarceration of the band’s members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Yekaterina Samutsevich and Maria Alyokhina.

The arrest came after the band produced a controversial music video in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow on Feb. 21. The song titled, “Punk Prayer: Mother of God Drive Putin Away,” talks of urging the Virgin Mary to become a feminist and to get rid of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. The arrest of the three members has been protested by many prominent Russian public figures, many of them supporters of Putin, including director Fyodor Bondarchuk and actors  Chulpan Khamatova and Yevgeny Mironov, who had appeared in re-election campaign videos for Putin.

The music video can currently be viewed on Youtube and has become the center of conversation concerning freedom of speech in artistic and musical work and performance. Pussy Riot, who openly identify themselves as a feminist punk-rock group, have gained international recognition since the creation of the music video and the controversy sparked by their recent incarceration.

“Amnesty International is presenting this coffeehouse because free speech is a human right and Putin is taking that away from (Pussy Riot) by putting them in a labor colony” said Katherine Aebischer, senior anthropology major and Amnesty International president.
Students of the College performed on stage throughout the night. Some of the performers included sophomore math major Ryan Manheimer, freshman communication studies major Jared Sokoloff and senior early childhood education major Chase Destierro.

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