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A protest organized by members of Pussy Riot at Trump Tower in New York on Monday, October 23. Photo: Pussy Riot

Pussy Riot Stages Protest at Trump Tower

Three members of the Russian punk rock band and art collective Pussy Riot stormed New York’s Trump Tower on Monday in protest of the imprisonment of Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, Jazz Monroe of Pitchfork reports. Police closed the building for at least thirty minutes after the action.

“We came to occupy Trump Tower to call attention to political prisoners,” the group said in a statement. “We believe that political prisoners and their protection are more important than the sexist bullshit that people have been focused on.” 

Wearing balaclavas, Masha Alokhina and two unnamed members of the collective unfurled a banner reading “Free Sentsov” from a mezzanine at the hotel and threw pamphlets into the lobby below. A video of the demonstration was post to the group’s Facebook page, along with the accompanying text: 

“Defending political prisoners is an issue that transcends borders. We are acting in solidarity against leaders like Putin, who has exercised authoritarian force and Trump, who is displaying authoritarian tendencies—because we all need to be fighting together on behalf of dissidents everywhere.”

The post concludes by urging people to support advocacy and organize public actions. As artforum.com previously reported, a Russian military court sentenced Sentsov to twenty years in a prison camp in August 2015 after convicting him of terrorism. The filmmaker is an outspoken critic of the pro-Kremlin government, and had organized a number protests against Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

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