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Pussy Riot copycats could see church charges
Photo: DPA

Pussy Riot copycats could see church charges

Published: 23 Aug 2012 15:21 GMT+02:00
Updated: 23 Aug 2012 15:21 GMT+02:00

The Catholic Church has pressed charges against a trio of Pussy Riot copycats who disrupted a service in Cologne Cathedral on Sunday – if charged and convicted they could be jailed for longer than their heroines.

The three young activists carried a banner reading "Free Pussy Riot and all prisoners" into the cathedral, distributed flyers and shouted "Free Pussy Riot."

The two men, aged 23 and 25, and a 20-year-old woman were dressed as the all-female punk band Pussy Riot, three of whom were sentenced to two years in prison in Russia last week for staging a similar demonstration inside a cathedral in Moscow in February.

"The peace of Cologne Cathedral was disturbed - we can't and won't accept this," said the cathedral's dean Robert Kleine in the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper.

"The right to demonstration cannot be set above the right to religious freedom and the religious feelings of the congregation."

The three unnamed activists could now be prosecuted for breach of the peace and disrupting the free practice of religion. The latter carries a maximum prison sentence of up to three years, or a fine.

In a similar case in 2006, a Berlin man was sentenced to nine months in prison after he disrupted a service on German Unity Day by shouting and throwing leaflets.

The Cologne trio's protest lasted less than a minute before cathedral wardens dragged them outside. Bishop Heiner Koch, who had just finished giving his sermon, said afterwards that he would include the demonstrators' cause, Pussy Riot and the people of Russia in the service prayer, the newspaper reported.

Several other protests were held across Germany in solidarity with Pussy Riot last weekend after their prison sentence was announced in Russia.

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Your comments about this article

15:55 August 23, 2012 by auslanderus
These young and dumm people/adults need to get a life. Maybe some time in jail will clear there minds and see how stupid they were. They need to grow up and smell the coffee.
16:27 August 23, 2012 by michael4096
"The right to demonstration cannot be set above the right to religious freedom and the religious feelings of the congregation"

I wonder how many of those 'horrified' by this condoned the far more agressive 'free speech' disruption of muslims outside their mosque a few weeks ago.
16:38 August 23, 2012 by lucksi
I've been to Cologne Cathedral less than an hour before and -as ever- you cannot disrupt anything there anymore than it already is. Even when there is a sermon going on, there are tons of tourists talking among themselves (and most not in a quiet inside voice) and snapping flash photography.

That said, they demonstrated for less than a minute and immediatly were assaulted? Touching someone and dragging them out would constitute assault in many countries, no?

And of course we can't value freedom of speech higher than freedom of religion, what were those peasants thinking? Now give us tax free money and let us continue to be free from any accountability whatsoever.
17:31 August 23, 2012 by zeddriver
Here's the difference. One is free to publicly voice their opinions on public property. The public square as it were. Once one enters private property. I.E. This church or inside a C&A store. Things change. And the property owner sets the rules.

The Koln church would be well within it's rights to tell the noisy tourists to please be quite and refrain from flash photos or leave. Even though I'm not Catholic. If I enter a church that is having mass. I either leave to return later or stand quietly by the door and listen to the organ play.
17:47 August 23, 2012 by schneebeck
@ lucksi #3

Maybe we could consider a hypothetical situation.

What if these demonstrators showed up unannounced to exercise their free speech in your own living room.

Would you be a bit surprised? Would you be a bit angry?

If you tried to push them back out the door, would you be "assaulting" them?

Could you feel that "freedom of speech" is a higher right than "right to privacy" and justify the incursion?

Or, would you feel that your liberties have been violated?
18:03 August 23, 2012 by lucksi
Let's see, I paid for my living room and there is special protection for your own home, so I could throw them out. If they were on my property at my factory, I'd have to call the cops to have them removed.

And since when are churches private property? Who paid for those? That's right, the taxpayers. Even if you are not paying the religious tax, you are still paying them. Let em call the police.

Which they did and you see how fast they were there. Go ahead, watch the video. See how the cops treat the protestors and how the church treats them. Taking them by the arm and escorting them outside is ok, as is dragging the one resisting. But the rest with the arm twisting and the headlock outside clearly isn't. The one with the pinkish shirt who assaults the woman when they were outside clearly deserves to be charged with assault. Who does he think he is? An American cop?

And no, I don't like the loudmouthed hippies either.
18:58 August 23, 2012 by zeddriver
@lucksi

I beg to differ. Yes they do get money from the government. They are still private property, But are a public venue.

Appendix to the Basic Law

Extracts from the German Constitution of August 11, 1919 [Weimar Constitution] Article 138(2) Property rights and other rights of religious societies or associations in their institutions, foundations, and other assets intended for purposes of worship, education, or charity shall be guaranteed.

So the church has property rights just like you do with your home.
20:58 August 23, 2012 by Karl_Berlin
Come on, what's realistically gonna happen is nothing.

No German anything would want to be seen as similar or ever more draconian than Russia.

Especially the church, with its current reputation.
21:20 August 23, 2012 by zeddriver
@Karl_Berlin

And nothing much should happen. I think a stern talking to/ small fine and a clarification about not going inside a church and disturbing the mass would suffice.

Not really sure why the protestors choose the inside of Koln Cathedral during mass in the first place. THIS church had nothing to do with what happened in Russia. Seems they (the protestors) should have gone to the Russian embassy to voice there displeasure with the terrible way the Russians treated that band. Or go to Russia and protest in the same church the band did.
00:56 August 24, 2012 by Eric1
Why aren't they doing this in a mosque or are they just anti-Christian bigots?
02:05 August 24, 2012 by zeddriver
@Eric1

The band in question was arrested in Russia for disrupting a church service. And so rather than complain to or about the authorities that threw the book at the band. They will pick the easy target. I.E. the church in Koln. Hey! They were arrested outside a church. Must be the fault of all Catholic churches.

Funny though! If a group went into a Muslim church and disrupted a service in Pakistan and were arrested by the police and thrown into prison. Then subsequently protestors disrupted a Muslim church in Europe in protest. The outcry against the protestors would be deafening. "How dare they associate the actions of the police in Pakistan with the Islamic church"

I think that is what was lost on most in this forum. The church in Russia didn't arrest that band. The church in Russia didn't put them on trial nor did it sentence them to prison. The Russian police and judicial system did that. Yet the protestors here go after the victim.
04:02 August 24, 2012 by cheeba
Regardless of the disposition of this case, the fact that a law is on the books allowing for a longer sentence here than pussy riot got there makes a joke of the self righteous EU politicians who thunder that the sentence in Moscow is "disproportionate". HA HA HA
08:53 August 24, 2012 by Wilfre73d
On another note,

Four Pussy Riot copy pussycats demonstrators were killed last night in Stuttgart after a man with a red baklava opened fire against them with an automatic rifle and semi-pistol. Witnesses, who were leaving the Grabkapelle-Rotenberg church at the time of the massacre overheard the discussion between the presume killer and pussy-riot extremists. They described the man as a "normal kind of guy" and as "he looked kind of dorky to me." But what the witnesses didn't know was that this "dorky" guy was loaded with a great amount of fire power. And boy OH boy were they impressed (specially the now deceased)! Among the witnesses was 69 year old Frau Schmith, who named the executor as "The Red Judge" and 19 year old grandson who told reporters that "he never saw someone shoot so damn good in his life." The 19 year old who has an extensive amount of experience in first-person shooter video games said that "every shot fired was a direct hit" and that "no bullet was gone to waste."

Nobody really cared about the bloodbath until two days later cleaning workers of the church were complaining about a "greater than usual" amount of trash left at the front of the church. Today, colorful flowers and lighted candles laid at the church's entrance in reminiscence of the now celeb "Red Judge."
10:06 August 24, 2012 by danceswithgoats
Not sure what Wilfre73d is talking about above.

I said it about PR and I will say it about these fools; protests are a tactic to achieve a goal. If your tactic is inflaming the populace against your cause then you must be doing something wrong. No one in their right mind can justify disrupting a religious service in a protest against the government. At least PR is protesting an autocrat like Putin. These fools in Koln are just serving to make people angry.
11:38 August 24, 2012 by hankeat
Where are the love, compassion, forgiveness, tolerance.......that religions actually should be practising?
12:33 August 24, 2012 by danceswithgoats
@hankeat - Ah! Blame the victime I see. Rubbish. Why should any religion have to tolerate boorish behavior in their sacred spaces?

BTW - the Russian Orthodox church publicly forgave PR.
12:44 August 24, 2012 by yourkeau
@zeddriver

>The band in question was arrested in Russia for disrupting a church service.

Bullshit.

1. There was no church service at the time of their performance. Officially they were arrested for "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred"

2. They WERE NOT SINGING anything. They were just dancing, and in their published video the sound was put at the recording studio.

>They were arrested outside a church. Must be the fault of all Catholic churches

Another bullshit. They were arrested because the Patriarch of Russian Orthodox church was angry with their action. It was not Putin who forced the police to illegally arrest them and press bullshit charges. So, yes, it is the church who is responsible for their arrest and THAT IS WHY this caused so much outage in Russia.
15:40 August 24, 2012 by cheeba
Some people just don't make sense.

One line they are arrested for disrupting a church service.

The next line it is "hooliganism"

Does there need to be a service going on for your disruption to rise to the standard of "hooliganism?

I think not.
21:11 August 24, 2012 by Timec
What they did is stupid and inappropriate, but not worthy of jail time. Especially since, as far as I¦#39;ve heard, they didn¦#39;t act violently and they didn¦#39;t threaten anyone. They should just be slapped with a fine and a warning.

And yes, I would think that regardless of whether it was a cathedral, mosque, synagogue, shrine, or supermarket.
21:16 August 24, 2012 by zeddriver
@yourkeau

You sound like an angry person. And are trying to make this an anti church story. When it is clearly a story about a horrific over reaction by several Russian authorities.

It was the Government authorities that made the arrest. It was the government that made the uptick in charges. It was the government court that sent them to jail. A church cannot FORCE the cops to arrest anyone. The church cannot force the court to up the charges. The church cannot force the judge to send them to jail for so long. How on earth could a single church Patriarch FORCE all of that to happen? Maybe the Patriarch's big holy stick was actually a muzzle loading gun. Yes! That's it. The Patriarch was going to single handedly over throw the Russian government. So yes. I guess your correct. The entire Russian government was under duress by this one guy. So what could they do but obey.

All they (the church) can do is make the call and complain. The cops COULD have just read PR the riot act. And told them to go away. the judge COULD have dismissed the case.

Yes! maybe the church went over board to make the initial call. The rest of what has happened to PR is squarely on the Russian government.
21:48 August 24, 2012 by cheeba
the notoriety will probably make the members of Pussy Riot very rich rock stars when they are released from prison.

I heard they last week they released new music, even from behind bars.

I think it is very unlikely they will serve the entire 2 years, they've already served 6 months prior to conviction which will probably be deducted from the time they will serve, they will probably be free by this spring.

Then that old whore Madonna can use them as an opening act on her tour, she needs the attention at this point.
10:43 August 25, 2012 by russian_newbie
@zeddriver

You sound like a person not aware of the background.

The background is the church whose higher ranking clergy are all KGB agents. And they publicly deny their ties with KGB, which makes of them liars (suppose you are religious; would you like to be in a church whose clergy are mostly liars?).

The background is that patriarch, before the last presidential elections, called upon the believers to vote Putin, which is completely amoral, taking into account the principle of separation between the church and the state.

And also that the most rich part of the believers, the money-raising part formed mainly by gangsters, corrupts the clergy. Within the last two weeks there were two mortal accidents in Moscow maid by drunkard drivers-priests, one of which was driving a sportcar BMW, the other a Mercedes Gelandewagen G500. Many new churches have bells with inscriptions that mean, though worded differently, something like "This bell is a gift from the Soltsevo criminal gang".

The background is that many church spokesmen called upon very tough punishment for pussy riot and used the terms like blasphemy, sacrilege and that the patriarch set a day of all-Russian prayer to defend orthodox religion against multiplying assaults right after the PR performance.

They were offended by the protest against the hypocrisy of the clergy, representing it as an antiorthodox hatred, which is just another lie. And the Cathedral of Christ the Savior is extremely convenient for such a protest, the cathedral called by people "Savior-on-the-garage", where the mercedeses of the attendants are washed and polished while they are at the mass and where one can get inside without making line if one has a VIP pass.

And do not say that this is not the church, this is a government. The medieval inquisition did not sentence the heretics either. The inquisition, like the ROC, passed the heretics to the state for a prosecution and asked to be charitable and not to shed blood. The state did not shed blood: it burned the convicts.
11:16 August 25, 2012 by zeddriver
@russian_newbie

Thanks for the explanation. Of course I suppose it's going to be one of those hard to define issues. Just like the folks that think 9/11 was a government plot. There are things when looked at in differing contexts that could make it look like either one is correct (as per 9/11). And while I'm one of folks that doesn't trust big over powering government. I don't think the US is quite at that level "yet".

Does the ROC wield that much power that they could put Putin in office. If so. How was it that Putin was voted out?

Perhaps you have a few links?
15:11 August 25, 2012 by cheeba
@russian_newbie;

The KGB was dissolved in Russia over 20 years ago. perhaps you are referring to one of the newer security services there?

Or maybe you are saying it is the Belarussians? Belarus continues to have a security organ known by the initials KGB under Lukashenko.

They are known to meddle in neighboring countries affairs, in that case your theory could make sense.

Maybe you could organize a teddy bear protest in the cathedral in Minsk to oppose this outrage.
18:24 August 25, 2012 by russian_newbie
Part 1

I am speaking about Russia and have used to call by the same name KGB all the predecessors and successors: MGB, NKVD, FSB (ФСБ ­ today's name Федеральная служба безопасности).

When somebody says to me that speaking about links between KGB and ROC MP is like thinking of 9/11 as a government plot, I start realizing how far the western bloggers are from the reality of life in Russia. They have learnt in school about the CPSU, Stalin, KGB, but not much about the ROC MP, and now hearing something new makes them sceptic. Somewhere in 90's Estonia opened the KGB archives and some files on the priests - KGB agents were published by the "Ponomarev-Yakunin committee" (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gleb_Yakunin). The agents are represented by their agent pseudonyms, but the concordance between their careers and the well-known CVs of the priests allows one to identify them. Former patriarch Alexei Ridiger is agent Drozdov, the actual patriarch Kirill Gundyaev is agent Mikhailov. You can find many texts on them on www.compromat.ru; it is the site that collects articles on public persons that have ever appeared in press, with the rule once published, never withdrawn. You will also see that these KGB agents had brilliant careers, say, become bishop at 29 (of course as an exception, for there is a church rule saying that one has to be at least 30 to become a simple priest).

But you have to read Russian. I have no links in English. You can also learn from there why people called Kirill, before he became patriarch, Tabac and Vodka Metropolitan. And how he deprived his neighbor Yuri Shevchenko of an apartment in the downtown of Moscow. And that he bears a Breguet watch for $30000 that made a scandal when the official ROC site published a photoshopped photo of Kirill, where there was no watch on his hand but its reflection on the surface of the table was still there.
00:43 September 2, 2012 by Almirante
So, in this modern and compassionate state of Germany, one cannot distribute leaflets without going to jail--yet the government itself decides What belief system is and is not a religion.

Even today, "liberal" Germany has more than 20 small religions on its "watch list" because their beliefs aren't in tune with Lutheranism, Catholicism, Judaism--or Germany's fastest-growing religion: Atheism.
20:18 September 6, 2012 by russian_newbie
Part 2

The site rejects the continuation with links, says it is spam. Thus I am posting without links. The site also mutilates cyrillic text. An issue to be handled by the webmaster.

Consecutive comments not permitted. Waiting until somebody posts anything after me. Yes, done! Here is the sequel without links.

There were also testimonies about ROC-KGB link by different clerics. E. g. Ukranian Filaret says he was an agent, and all the clerics had to be; it was even impossible to appoint a priest without approval by KGB...

You can also read a little bit on the history of ROC MP. To begin with, that it was organized personally by Stalin in 1943, putting Sergij Stargorodskij as its head - the Sergij accused by many for persecution of thousands of clergy and believers.

Thus it is not only the oversized hate to punk singers that disaffects Russian from the ROC MP.

There are too many examples of hypocrisy to list them here. I will add some however. When the tsunami devastated the Thailand coast, the patriarch Kirill said - not to a friend, but in a public speech - that it is God's punishment for a wrong faith. He repeated this view speaking about the earthquake at Haiti in 2010.

Quite recent: on Aug 18 the patriarch adored, in polish Belostok, the relics of St. Gavriil. The saint whose existence does no make honor to the ROC, for the official vita of this Saint says it was a child tortured to death by a jewish community for purposes of their religious office and that the jews needed child's blood to cook their bread. Instead of making to decanonize this quasi-saint that appeared as a result of a court case in XVII century anticipating the Dreyfus affair, he visits Belostok to adore him!

By the way, have you seen a priest trying to kiss Putin's hand? Search youtube for "Священник целует руку Путину".
09:31 October 11, 2012 by mitanni
"Come on, what's realistically gonna happen is nothing."

Didn't you read the article? Other people have gotten 9 month jail terms for simply speaking up and distributing leaflets during a service. And there have been many other cases of penalties, including jail terms, for people who have spoken out against religion in Germany.
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