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Pussy Riot fans in Zurich church protest

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10:40 CEST+02:00
Demonstrators climbed an iconic cathedral tower in Zurich on Monday to protest against Russia's decision to jail three members of female punk bank Pussy Riot.

Ten men and women staged a protest against the two-year sentence received by the band that has captured headlines across the world in recent days, online news site Tages Anzeiger reported.

Chants of “Free Pussy Riot!” and “Fuck Putin!” could be heard from the top of the one of the famous Grossmünster Cathedral towers, as the protesters unfurled a 10-metre long poster from the top of the church.

Police were called to the scene, and tourists were barred from entering the building. After about one hour, the protesters let the banner drop, along with a bag of the demonstrators’ brightly coloured balaclavas.

Police immediately began to question the woman who picked up the dropped items.

A woman wearing a red wig and giving the name Jacky Müller said she was the spokeswoman for the protesters, who have named themselves the Free Punk Committee of Zurich.

She said the group was made up of like-minded local artists who were outraged by the decision of the Russian court to imprison the three women after they performed an anti-Vladimir Putin "punk prayer" in an Orthodox cathedral in Moscow in February.

“We are fortunately not in Russia here,” Müller said. “We won’t get two years’ inside.”

Several tourists were attracted to the scene, some of them Russian. A handful of passers-by even applauded.

“This is very good,” one man told the news site.

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The activists said that they did not expect a great deal to come of this one act, but hoped that the cumulative effect of demonstrations being held across the world would put pressure on Putin to release the three women.

No charges have yet been brought against the activists. The police have confirmed that they will not be taking any action, but the church itself could choose to press charges. The church's decision is as yet unknown.

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