Entertainment News

  • 6 February 2014, 17:03

Pussy Riot Pair 'Will Not Forgive' Putin Regime

Two members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot have demanded the release of anti-government prisoners at an Amnesty International concert in New York.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 24, and Maria Alyokhina, 25, were introduced to the stage by Madonna, who called for the release of the women last year.

The pop diva told the crowd: "When I realised when I went to Russia and saw what was going on with Pussy Riot and this trial and what was going on with the gay community was how lucky I was and am to live in a country where I can speak my mind, where I can ... yes,  I know America is not perfect, it's true, but I can speak my mind.

"I can criticise the government. I can speak out against religious fundamentalists, okay, and I don't have to fear being thrown in jail ... not yet, anyway."

Ms Tolokonnikova said after being introduced: "We will not forgive and will not forget what the regime is doing to our fellow citizens, so we demand a Russia that is free; a Russia without Putin."

Many will be watching the Sochi Winter Games as competitions get under way to see if Russia will enforce its law banning gay "propaganda" to minors if athletes, fans or activists wave rainbow flags or speak out in protest.

In 2012 the women were convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred after storming Moscow's biggest orthodox cathedral and singing a protest song against President Vladimir Putin.

After nearly two years in prison, Mr Putin granted them amnesty in December.

While Pussy Riot did not perform at the Amnesty International concert, R&B singer Lauryn Hill, Blondie, and the alternative rock groups Imagine Dragons and Cake played at a packed Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

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