Pussy Riot visitors stay cool and calm

Local | Cindy Wan and Amy Nip 6 Nov 2018

Two members of Russian punk protest group Pussy Riot, infamous for outrageous behavior in Moscow and elsewhere and upsetting their country's political and religious leaders among others, headed to Admiralty yesterday.

They were not rallying, however. Rather, they wanted to learn more about what happened four years ago during the Occupy Movement, which they see as a model of civil disobedience.

Group members Olga Kuracheva and Veronika Nikulshina also visited the Legislative Council, the Central Government Offices and Civic Square with Demosisto's Joshua Wong Chi-fung, who was a student leader during Occupy.

The two visitors most recently made international headlines in mid-year at football's World Cup tournament in Russia. They were among four Pussy Riot members jailed for 15 days for invading the pitch dressed as police at the final in Moscow between France and Croatia.

Wong said talking with the pair made him feel guilty for not doing more to advance democracy in Hong Kong.

This was after they told him activists in Russia are not just taken away by authorities but murdered.

Compared with dissidents in other places, Wong wrote on Facebook, Hong Kong activists can be considered lucky in that they do risk their lives fighting for democracy.

The Pussy Riot pair were in town to participate in a LGBT forum and were supposed to attend art exhibition Gongle by Chinese Australian artist Badiucao, whose cartoons satirize Chinese leaders and criticize the Communist Party.

But the Saturday art exhibition was canceled the day before due to safety concerns, according to organizer Hong Kong Free Press.

"The decision follows threats made by Chinese authorities relating to the artist," it wrote without specifying the form of the threats.

Shocked by the cancellation, the Pussy Riot pair wore their signature balaclavas - Wong and others did likewise - at a flash protest on Sunday at arts and heritage center Tai Kwun in Central.

Kurachyova also said she had a "flashback" when hearing of encroachment on freedom of expression in Hong Kong. "I'm afraid it's going to get worse," she added, saying she witnessed the same sort of thing in Russia.

And she shared the same sentiments with Wong on international solidarity at a panel discussion on freedom of art and expression on Sunday.

Riot Pussy's links with the SAR started when the group posted a video to support Hong Kong activists being jailed for participating in the Occupy Movement.

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