Pussy Riot Verdict Sparks Protests, Arrests Outside UES Russian Consulate

By Dan Rivoli and Alexander Hotz  on August 17, 2012 12:41pm  | Updated on August 17, 2012 5:24pm

Members of the all-girl punk band 'Pussy Riot' Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (L), Maria Alyokhina (R) and Yekaterina Samutsevich (C), sit behind bars during a court hearing in Moscow on July 23, 2012.
Members of the all-girl punk band 'Pussy Riot' Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (L), Maria Alyokhina (R) and Yekaterina Samutsevich (C), sit behind bars during a court hearing in Moscow on July 23, 2012.
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ANDREY SMIRNOV/AFP/GettyImages

UPPER EAST SIDE — Six people were arrested during demonstrations Friday over the sentencing of all-female Russian punk band Pussy Riot after a trial that drew international attention and outrage, police said.

The protesters were arrested in front of the Russian Consulate at 9 E. 91st St., between Madison and Fifth avenues, as part of a day of planned protests regarding the Russian government's treatment of the band.

The group's three members — Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Maria Alekhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30 — were reportedly sentenced to two years in prison on hooliganism charges after they delivered a rant against Russian President Vladimir Putin inside a Moscow church. In response, the group released another defiant track "Putin Lights up the Fires."

A group of about 20 demonstrators, many affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement, protested the trial Friday first at St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral of New York and later outside the consulate.

The group then marched south along Madison Avenue for a planned protest in Times Square.

"It's important to make ourselves an echo of what's happening elsewhere in the world," said Sofia Gallisa, 26, a New York artist. "We need to show our solidarity with the people living under oppressive regimes around the world."

Another protester, Ann Pettieone, 63, said she had been following the developments of the trial closely. "The verdict was horrible," said Pettieone. "I mean it's not surprising that they got two years, but we just have to continue to protest."

Pussy Riot's Moscow trial drew international attention and raised concerns about civil rights in Russia. The band also garnered the support of celebrities, artists and musicians such as Paul McCartney, Madonna and actress Chloe Sevigny. 

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