Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Pussy Riot members thank supporters at New York concert

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NEW YORK -- Instead of singing, Madonna and Pussy Riot spoke with passion about human rights issues at a concert for Amnesty International.

Madonna told the crowd of thousands Wednesday night that she received death threats for standing up for Pussy Riot, a Russian protest punk band, when two of its members were arrested for hooliganism after staging a protest in a Russian church in 2012.

"The right to be free, to speak our minds, to have an opinion, to love who we want to love, to be who we are -- do we have to fight for that?" the pop icon said, answering her own question with an expletive.

At the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Madonna introduced Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who were released from prison in December.

Alekhina and Tolokonnikova thanked supporters for sending letters while they were in jail and Amnesty International for its mission to protect human rights.

"Thank you to all of those who are bold enough and who care enough to speak out against injustice and speak the truth," Alekhina said through a translator at the Bringing Human Rights Home concert.

"Russia will be free!" they yelled along with the crowd before they exited the stage.

The Flaming Lips and Yoko Ono closed the event, while Imagine Dragons were crowd favourites.

The concert also included performances from Lauryn Hill, Blondie, Cake, the Fray, Bob Geldof, Tegan and Sara, Colbie Caillat and Cold War Kids.

 

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 7, 2014 D2

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