Rock Group Arrested For Singing on Red Square

Members of a Russian rock group have been arrested after performing a song insulting Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Red Square, reports.

The group, which is called Pussy Riot, played a song titled “Putin Pissed Himself” while perched on Red Square’s Place of Skulls, a platform historically used for announcing imperial decrees. After the 1:38 minute song was over, FSB officers ran up to the group and brought three of the eight girls away to a Kremlin police checkpoint. Five of the girls were arrested in all.

After the incident, police immediately cordoned off the Place of Skulls “to carry out investigative work.”

According to one member of the band, the song calls on Russian citizens “to occupy key places in the country and achieve political changes.”

The singer explained: “The song has the line ‘Punishment with the whip for your freedom and ours.’ We were recalling the dissident protest on Red Square in 1968 [against the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia], after which the dissidents were tortured and sent to psychiatric hospitals, prison, and exile. The line ‘Patients are invited to conform’ is a reference to the types of punishment that were used in the USSR, and also to the fact that the government in Russia today thinks of its citizens as psychiatric patients incapable of making their own decisions.'”

Interfax later reported that the activists were charged with violating the law on holding public demonstrations. They were released from holding, but must appear in court on January 24.

Pussy Riot is well-known for holding impromptu protest concerts. They also participated in a concert on December 17 in support of oppositionists arrested during protests against falsified elections for the State Duma.

Photographs from the concert can be seen on the group’s LiveJournal page.