Maria Alyokhina, 24, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29, are members of the Russian band Pussy Riot. The band, which takes inspiration from riot grrl punk bands like Bikini Kill, are all-female groups that counter sexism, misogyny and reprehension of ideas. After a performance in February at a Moscow cathedral, the members of Pussy Riot were jailed after they asked The Virgin Mary to “Thrown Putin Out,” Putin, of course being Russia’s controversial President and former Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin. After their performance asking The Virgin Mary for assistance, the band were arrested and charged with "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred or hostility.” The members could face up to seven years in jail if convicted.
On Monday July 30, 2012, the three women stood trial and have gained support from members outside the court chanting, “Girls, we are with you.” However, opposition has demanded harsh punishment for the ladies. Tolokonnikova said in court, "Our motives were exclusively political." In a statement by Alyokhina, she said, "I thought the church loved all its children, but it seems the church loves only those children who love Putin."
Pussy Riot formed in 2011 and is taking their creative liberties to speak out against Putin and his government. The band has staged guerrilla-like surprise concerts in Red Square prior to their now infamous concert at a Moscow Cathedral.
The band have pled their innocence and now Amnesty and Change.org have began a petition to raise awareness and voices to get the members of the band free and released. To take action and sign the petition, click HERE.Watch the incident of the band performing in the Moscow cathedral below: