Moscow, Aug 17 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Activists from the Ukrainian feminist group Femen cut down a wooden crucifix in the centre of the country's capital city of Kiev Friday, supporting members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot.
A video posted online showed a topless blond Femen protester wearing red shorts, with the words Free Riot scrawled across her chest and arms, cutting the cross with a chainsaw and then pulling it down using a rope pulled by two other activists, and then posing with her arms extended crucifix-style.
The cross was put up on a high hill near Kiev's downtown Independence Square during the 2004 pro-democracy Orange Revolution to commemorate the victims of political repression under Joseph Stalin.
Femen gained notoriety by staging dozens of topless protests both in Ukraine and abroad over the past few years.
The activists warned Russian President Vladimir Putin and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia that they would turn the blade of our chainsaw against those responsible for the suffering of innocent women if the Pussy Riot members are jailed.
Three Pussy Riot participants - Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Maria Alyokhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30 - have been charged with hooliganism for inciting religious hatred over their protest in Moscow Feb 26. A Moscow court found them guilty Friday.
These members performed a punk prayer calling on the Virgin Mary to drive Putin out and were arrested shortly after their performance.
They say they were protesting against the Orthodox Church's support for Putin ahead of the March 4 presidential elections, in which he won a third term in the Kremlin.