‘Freedom to Pussy Riot’: Activists Protest Outside Russian Embassy in Yerevan (PHOTOS, VIDEO) 03.14.2012 18:09 epress.am

‘Freedom to Pussy Riot’: Activists Protest Outside Russian Embassy in Yerevan (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

A group of men and women organized a protest outside the Russian Embassy in Armenia today to support Russian feminist punk-rock group Pussy Riot and demand their release.

The protest was announced yesterday on Facebook and included the participation of publicist Ara Nedolyan, human rights campaigner Mikael Danielyan, Artlab members, Hope NGO representative Lala Aslikyan and several others.

Recall, Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Mariya Alekhina were arrested last month after the band overran the pulpit of a Moscow church. The group chanted slogans to protest against president-elect Vladimir Putin.

The women, who both have young children, could face seven years in jail if found guilty of hooliganism.

The Moscow City Court said they will remain in custody until Apr. 24, the BBC reports.

The all-female feminist band gained notoriety for its masked performances denouncing Vladimir Putin in the run-up to presidential elections which were held earlier this month.

They performed in high-profile places such as Red Square and on a rooftop opposite a jail where anti-government protesters had been locked up.

In the Red Square performance the group sang “Putin has wet himself” before police arrived.

The two women were arrested after the group chanted “Mother Mary, drive Putin away” at Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral on Feb. 21.

Outside the Russian Embassy in Yerevan today, police urged protestors not to photograph the building or get permission from the embassy’s security service and only then begin the protest. Seeing the photo and video cameras aimed at him, one of the officers (who didn’t identify himself) said citizens didn’t have the right to film or photograph him.

Danielyan and Aslikyan reminded him that he’s at work in a public space and journalists can photograph him. The officer, however, said they don’t have that right. He was then reminded that tax dollars paid by citizens are paying his salary, to which the officer responded: “The state is paying me.” Danielyan once again emphasized that the state pays him on taxpayers’ account.

Nevertheless, reporters were permitted to photograph him from the back, facing the embassy.

The activists displayed a banner with the inscription “Freedom to Pussy Riot” and with drums accompaniment, changed “Mother Mary, drive Putin away.”

Overall, the protest lasted about 15 minutes. There was no immediate response from the embassy.

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