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Pussy Riot slapped with fines for hanging defiant rainbow flags around Moscow on Vladimir Putin’s birthday

Nick Duffy November 24, 2020
Pussy Riot rainbow flags Russia Pride

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

Two members of Pussy Riot have been handed fines for marking the birthday of Vladimir Putin by hanging rainbow flags from buildings in Moscow.

Maria Alyokhina and Veronika Nikulshina were arrested on 7 October, the 68th birthday of the infamously anti-LGBT+ Russian leader, after hanging the flags from government buildings.

The pair, part of the punk collective that has staged countless protests in favour of women’s rights and LGBT+ rights, hung flags from the buildings of the federal security service, the presidential administration, the supreme court, the culture ministry and a police headquarters.

Pussy Riot protest had marked Vladimir Putin’s birthday.

On Monday (23 November), the pair were both slapped with fines by Moscow courts for the protest, which the group described as a “birthday gift” for Putin.

Pussy Riot members had staged the protest to mark Vladimir Putin's birthday
Pussy Riot members had staged the protest to mark Vladimir Putin’s birthday (Getty)

Though only a small number of activists were present, the pair were fined after the protest was deemed a public gathering, which is outlawed under coronavirus regulations in Moscow.

According to news agency Interfax, Alyokhina was handed a fine of 15,000 rubles (£150), while Nikulshina was fined 10,000 rubles (£100).

Members of the group faced weeks in police detention after the action. Radio Free Europe reports that two journalists were also briefly detained by police while covering the demonstration.

Activists demand LGBT+ rights reforms.

Pussy Riot said LGBT+ people need to be liberated from fear and prejudice, and from “ridiculous laws”.

“Today, we give this rainbow as a symbol of missing love and freedom – we give it to everyone,” the band said on the day of the action.

The group listed 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, an autonomous Russian territory.

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 7 October a national day to celebrate LGBT+ visibility.

More: Pussy Riot, Russia

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