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Up to 3 years: Pussy Riot copycats booted from German cathedral may face jail (VIDEO)

Published time: August 20, 2012 15:00
Edited time: August 21, 2012 16:41

YouTube video courtesy / parkgott

Download video (10.53 MB)

Four people who stormed Germany’s Cologne Cathedral during services, wearing masks and carrying signs showing solidarity with the jailed members of Pussy Riot, have been charged with disturbing a religious service and may face prison.

Three men and one woman – all in their twenties – were colorfully dressed, shouted slogans, sang and carried a banner demanding, “Free Pussy Riot and all prisoners”.

According to German media reports, Cologne Cathedral Bishop Heiner Koch, who was leading the service, quietly observed the protest by the altar. After activists were removed, he asked his congregation to pray for Pussy Riot, and for the Russian people in general.

Video of the incident posted on YouTube by one of the protesters shows cathedral officials quickly and brutally forcing the activists out of the service, knocking over stands along the way. Undaunted, the group continued their protest outside the cathedral. Police present said that the protesters did not resist arrest, and were later charged with disturbing the peace and disrupting a religious service.

According to the Criminal Code of Germany, the punishment for the above misbehavior envisages a fine or imprisonment for up to three years.

­

Worldwide solidarity

­It wasn’t the first time that demonstrators outside of Russia had copycatted Pussy Riot.

A week ago in Vienna, Austria, two men in bright balaclavas and small dresses went to the pulpit of a church and were photographed holding a banner reading "God loves Pussy Riot." Another group of Pussy Riot supporters in Helsinki attempted to enter a cathedral, but were blocked and forced to perform outside.

Protests have taken place around the world in support of the Russian punk band, including countries such as the UK, US, Brazil, Australia, France, Finland, Austria and Iceland. On the day of the group’s sentencing, demonstrators gathered in the streets wearing Pussy Riot-like outfits, carrying signs and shouting slogans in solidarity with the group.  

A topless activist from Ukraine’s infamous FEMEN protest group committed what was arguably the most outsized act of any Pussy Riot supporter: Using a chainsaw to cut down a cross in Kiev. Ukrainian authorities have launched a criminal investigation into the stunt on charges of hooliganism.

The cross felled by the FEMEN activist turned out to be Catholic, not Orthodox as she had apparently believed.

Three members of Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years in jail on charges of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" for staging a ‘punk prayer’ in Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral. The case was believed by many to be politically motivated, and sparked worldwide criticism and protest.

Screenshot from YouTube user parkgott
Screenshot from YouTube user parkgott

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