Russian painter sews lips to protest

July 24th, 2012 - 11:46 am ICT by IANS  

Moscow, July 24 (IANS/RIA Novosti) A painter in the Russian city of St. Petersburg sewed his lips and opted to stand in front of the Kazan Cathedral for several hours to protest the trial of three women from the Pussy Riot punk group.

Pussy Riot, is a feminist punk-rock collective, which stages politically provocative impromptu performances in Moscow on subjects such as women’s status and most recently against Vladimir Putin’s campaign during Russian presidential elections.

Pyotr Pavlensky held this one-man protest action late Monday.

He claims that the arrest of Pussy Riot members contradicts the fundamental Christian values as the group’s scandalous performance in Moscow’s landmark Christ the Savior cathedral was a re-enactment of Jesus Christ’s “cleansing of the temple”.

He was then taken to a hospital for a psychiatric examination but was released with “a clean bill of mental health”.

After taking the stitches off, Pavlensky said that his performance “demonstrated the government’s clampdown on the freedom of expression and growing censorship in art and media in Russia”.

Members of Pussy Riot - Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 23, Maria Alyokhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29, - were detained performing a song in Moscow’s largest cathedral in late February against what they said was church support for Vladimir Putin’s presidential election campaign.

The three women have been charged with hooliganism as part of an organised group and could face up to seven years in jail. A Moscow city court Friday ruled to prolong their custody for another six months.

A host of figures from Russian art world, including some notable Putin supporters, signed a letter last month calling for the suspects to be released. The letter was later backed by the Kremlin’s own rights council.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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