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Pussy Riot members arrested after decorating Russian government buildings with Pride flags for Putin’s birthday

Lily Wakefield October 9, 2020
Pussy Riot

Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina was dragged away and arrested as she arrived at a TV station to give an interview. (Pussy Riot/ Facebook)

Four Pussy Riot members have been arrested in Russia after the activist group decorated government buildings with Pride flags for Vladimir Putin’s birthday.

The feminist collective Pussy Riot marked the anti-LGBT+ Russian leader’s birthday Wednesday (October 7), by hanging rainbow flags at at Moscow landmarks, including the Federal Security Service (FSB), the district police, the Culture Ministry buildings and the Russian Supreme Court, in a powerful act of defiance.

It was originally reported that a journalist was arrested while reporting on the operation, but it has now been revealed that members of Pussy Riot were also arrested.

According to Meduza, on Thursday (October 8) activists Maria Alyokhina and Veronika Nikulshina were arrested and detained.

Alyokhina was arrested just after she arrived at a liberal Moscow TV station for an interview, and was dragged away from the door by officers and into a waiting unmarked van.

Neither Alyokhina or Nikulshina are known to have been released.

Later the same day, officers arrested two more Pussy Riot members – Vasily Andrianov and Elizaveta Diderikh. They have since been released under obligation to appear to receive administrative protocols for participating in an unauthorised rally.

Although they were not arrested, that same evening police officers visited the homes of other activists who took part in the Pride flag operation, including Alexander Sofeev, Veronika Nikulshina, and Lyusa Shtein.

Pussy Riot rainbow flags Russia Pride
Pussy Riot erected rainbow flags at government buildings in Moscow to mark Putin’s birthday. (Facebook)

Pussy Riot called for civil partnerships and anti-discrimination laws for the LGBT+ community.

After they decorated government buildings with Pride flags earlier this week, Pussy Riot went on to list seven demands to Vladimir Putin to improve LGBT+ lives.

They urged him to launch an investigation into the killings and kidnappings of queer people in Chechnya.

The group also drew attention to the harassment and discrimination faced by LGBT+ activists in Russia and called for a new law that would ban discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.

Furthermore, they called on Putin to introduce civil partnerships and told him to abolish the infamous “gay propaganda” law that has relegated the LGBT+ community to the shadows.

Finally, they asked the Russian president to make October 7 a national day to celebrate LGBT+ visibility.

More: Pussy Riot, Russia, Vladimir Putin

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