Skip to comments.Pussy Riot Visits NYC Jail to Support Occupy Wall Street Hero
Posted on 05/18/2014 6:35:54 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
RIKERS ISLAND, New York Two members of the Russian punk group Pussy Riot visited Rikers Island, New York City's main jail complex, to meet with an inmate who is a hero of Occupy Wall Street.
The Occupy protestor, 25-year-old Cecily McMillan, was arrested in March 2012 after she elbowed a police officer in the eye. She faces seven years behind bars after a jury found her guilty on May 5, but McMillan and her supporters say she should never have been convicted in the first place.
Pussy Riot members Nadezhda "Nadya" Tolokonnikova and Maria "Masha" Alyokhina entered Rikers around 11 a.m. ET and left around 3 p.m.. Speaking with Mashable after the meeting, Alyokhina echoed a similar sentiment of McMillian's supporters.
"She's really a hero," Alyokhina said. "We hope that the judge doesn't make any more mistakes."
Russian political activists Nadya Tolokonnikova, right, and Maria Alyokhina, left, of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot.
Tolokonnikova said McMillian's sentence is dangerous because it could possibly set a precent in the U.S. that would allow protesters to be jailed long term. In Russia, she said "it's a system" that's hard to defeat because it's so entrenched in precedent for political prisoners.
"We wouldn't want to see how a precedent in the United states can set an incredibly bad precedent for the rest of the world," Tolokonnikova said.
Pussy Riot members Nadya Tolokonnikova, right, and Maria Alyokhina, left, take a selfie after visiting a prisoner at Rikers Island in New York on May 9, 2014.
Ashley Codianni ✔ @AshleyCodianni
The day I got @pussyrrriot to take a selfie
on my phone cc @mashable
2:10 PM - 9 May 2014
11 Retweets 27 favorites
Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina have obvious parallels to the Occupy movement's latest hero. The Pussy Riot members were jailed for nearly two years following a 40-second anti-Russian President Vladimir Putin "punk prayer" at a Moscow cathedral in 2012.
Nadezhda "Nadya" Tolokonnikova's husband Peter Verzilov also visited Cecily McMillan at Rikers Island on Friday.
But although McMillan faces long-term prison time, she seems to be in good spirits. In fact, McMillan told Tolokonnikova's husband Peter Verzilov, who also visited Rikers on Friday, that prison was a "great life experience," and she wants to write a book.
"She might be the happiest prisoner I've seen," Verzilov told Mashable.
The Pussy Riot members first expressed interest in McMillan's case at a May 6 press conference in Washington, D.C. The group was supposed to be raising awareness about human rights abuses in Russia, but after Tolokonnikova finished lamenting Putin's Russia, she launched a barb at the U.S.
"We were appalled and saddened to hear about [McMillan's case]," Alyokhina said. We have sympathy for the Occupy Wall Street Movement, and we honestly believe no country should have political prisoners.
Pussy Riot also announced their support for McMillan on their new English-language Twitter account and hinted that they believe McMillian could be the face of an American version of their activist group.
Pussy Riot ✔ @pussyrrriot
We are hoping that Manhattan court will not
convict Cecily McMillan to prison term. Anyway,it's
time to start your own, american Pussy Riot.
10:28 PM - 6 May 2014
358 Retweets 256 favorites
At the time, McMillan reportedly said she has no memory of elbowing anyone, but does remember that someone grabbed her right breast as she was being led away from an Occupy protest by an officer. The officer, Grantley Bovell, said he was escorting McMillan from a protest at Zuccotti Park in downtown New York City when she crouched, lunged at the cop and elbowed him in the eye.
While the New York Times reported that a video of the incident seems to corroborate Bovell's version of events, there is photographic evidence of a bruise on McMillan's breast. The prosecution, however, claims it's fake.
Members of Occupy Wall Street have rallied around the case and many have called the verdict an injustice to civil liberties. Nine of the 12 jurors have even written to the judge to request leniency, in hopes that McMillan can trade her jail sentence for community service.
Pussy riot? Seriously?
Yep. They love breaking into churches and making porn and stuff like that, such ‘great’ people.... Not
I want them to hold one of their songs by the Forbidden City in China...
I believe the young woman in question is facing jail time for assault on a peace officer, not her political opinions. These two Russians might want to consider that McMillan had a fair trial and was found guilty by a jury who heard all the evidence and the McMillan defense against the charges.
Pussy rot...and I’ll bet they have crabs too.
Why are those two even IN this country?