Stadium rockers DDT headlined a concert for political prisoners.
Published: September 12, 2012 (Issue # 1726)
Russia’s first large concert in support of Pussy Riot and other political prisoners went ahead in St. Petersburg on Sunday despite pressure from the authorities. Three people were detained for alleged jaywalking after the concert.
On the day of the show, Glavclub was surrounded by scores of OMON riot policemen. More than a dozen police vehicles were parked along the short Kremenchugskaya Ulitsa on which Glavclub is located, with more parked in the streets close to the location.
Called Free Pussy Riot Fest, the concert also aimed to raise awareness and funds for The Other Russia activist Taisia Osipova, who was sentenced to eight years for drug dealing in Smolensk on Aug. 28 in a case her supporters say was entirely fabricated, and for 17 people held under pre-trial arrest since the May 6 March of Millions protest rally on Bolotnaya Ploshchad in Moscow.
An appeal for the three jailed members of feminist punk band Pussy Riot, who were sentenced to two years in a prison colony on Aug. 17, will be heard in Moscow on Oct. 1.
The concert opened with speeches by the band’s lawyers, Violetta Volkova and Nikolai Polozov, who came to St. Petersburg for the concert from Moscow. A third lawyer, Mark Feigin, was summoned to an interrogation at the investigative committee concerning the case against the Bolotnaya Ploshchad protesters on Monday, and did not come. Throughout the concert — which drew about a thousand people — the public chanted “Freedom to political prisoners.”
Concert headliners DDT, who performed early in the show, started poignantly with “Church With No Crosses.” It was with this song that the band opened its legendary debut show at the Leningrad Rock Club in 1987.
“It was written and dedicated to the churches destroyed by the past authorities,” frontman Yury Shevchuk said.
“Now the churches seem to have been rebuilt, but there has not become more love and mercy. It’s sad, and this song is relevant once again.”
Organizers said they had received several telephone threats from the police and officials wanting to stop the show since the venue was first announced last month. The last one came from the prosecutor’s office on Sept. 4, when Glavclub was informed that a random fire inspection would be carried out at the venue the following day.
According to concert organizer Olga Kurnosova, the inspection was carried out, but only minor violations were found. She said the club only managed to remain open because of publicity in the national media.
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