Madonna put on a balaclava and appealed for the release of 3 members of the Punk group Pussy Riot during a concert in Moscow.
New Music Express reports that halfway through her concert at Moscow's Olympiskii stadium she stopped the show to give a speech on freedom and self-expression and called on authorities to release the 3 members of the punk group from jail.
NME quotes Madonna saying, "I just want to say a few words about Pussy Riot. I know there are many sides to every story; I mean no disrespect to the church or the government. But I think that these three girls- Masha, Katya, Nadia - I think that they have done something courageous. I think they have paid the price for this act and I pray for their freedom." "I know that everyone here in this auditorium - if you're here as my fan - feels they deserve the right to be free. So to these three girls who’ve been in jail now for five months, who are going through a trial right now I pray for your freedom, I know we all pray for your freedom and lets hope that one day we really will live in a world filled with peace and freedom and tolerance."
She then wrapped it up saying, "Enough about freedom, let’s sing about love", before putting on a dark green balaclava, similar to those worn by Pussy Riot, stripped to her bra with the words "Pussy Riot" stamped across her back and began singing "Like a Virgin."
Madonna also appeared to thumb her nose at Ultra Orthodox critics who had called on authorities to ban the concert. The Union of Orthodox Banner-Bearers, a support group for the church, accused Madonna of interfering in Russian affairs and held a small protest outside the stadium. The Globe and Mail quotes the group saying, “This little singer is openly mocking our laws, our traditions and our culture.”
The New Music Express says the US embassy had issued a warning about "a threat of physical violence" aimed at performers and the audience attending Madonna's Russian shows. The warning followed the Queen of Pop's statement during an interview on Monday, in which she charged the Orthodox Church was acting "incorrectly" towards the three accused women.
The trio have already been held in jail for 5-months and as Digital Journal reported, the prosecution is asking for 3-year prison terms over their performance at Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral, protesting President Vladimir Putin's crackdown on dissenters.The judge is scheduled to hand down a verdict next week.