|Members of female punk band Pussy Riot, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (C), Maria Alyokhina (R) and Yekaterina Samutsevich, sit behind bars before a court hearing in Moscow, July 20, 2012. REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva
A jailed member of Pussy Riot has spoken out about the Russian punk band's arrest, insisting she didn't mean to cause offense by performing a protest song in a church.
Feminist rockers Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alekhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich are currently on trial and face up to seven years in jail on charges of hooliganism after they showed their opposition to Russia's President Vladimir Putin by playing their anthem Holy S**t at Moscow's Christ The Saviour Cathedral in February.
Tolokonnikova insists the impromptu gig was staged in opposition to Putin's re-election campaign, and was not intended to insult Christians.
In a manifesto posted on the Free Pussy Riot website, she writes, "Pussy Riot never means to show any disrespect to any viewers or witnesses of our punk concerts. The themes of our songs and performances are dictated by the present moment. We simply react to what is happening in our country, and our punk performances express the opinion of a sufficiently large number of people...
"We are not enemies of Christianity. We care about the opinion of Orthodox Christians. We want all of them to be on our side - on the side of anti-authoritarian civil society activists. That is why we came to the Cathedral...
"Our performance contained no aggression towards the audience, but only a desperate desire to change the political situation in Russia for the better."