Three members of Pussy Riot, a Russian women’s punk band, were denied bail on Wednesday after protesting against President Vladimir Putin at Moscow’s main cathedral on February 21.
The bandmates face up to seven years in jail for hooliganism, after dawning colorful masks and singing a “punk prayer” at the altar of Christ the Saviour Cathedral. They sang “Holy Mother, throw Putin out!” According to Reuters, the act was part of a protest movement in Russia that peaked at 100,000 people during the winter demonstrations seeking to end 12 years of Putin dominance. The indictment against members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, Yekaterina Samutsevic stated:
"Moving around the solea and ambon, areas that are strictly forbidden to visitors, with cynical disregard, they shouted out tunes of religious hostility and hatred over the course of about one minute, chanting obscene phrases and words that insult believers, as well as jumping around and raising their legs."
Police took 15 people into custody after about 300 people gathered to demand the release of the Pussy Riot members. The crowd whistled and chanted “freedom” and put up banners protesting for the release of the three women.
Despite an outcry of support from Amnesty International and protestors, the judge in the Russian court decided to keep the Pussy Riot bandmembers in jail until July 24 to prevent them from fleeing the country or organizing further protests.