Members of Russian protest group/band Pussy Riot offered their support to Cecily McMillan, the protester who was convicted this week of a felony assault on an NYPD officer during the Occupy Wall Street protests in 2012. McMillan now faces up to seven years in prison, and the Pussy Riot members visited her at Rikers Island as a sign of solidarity.
McMillan was convicted by a panel of jurors who agreed the 25-year-old graduate student intentionally assaulted Officer Grantley Bovell during a scuffle in Zucotti Park in March 2012, despite McMillan’s claim that she was reacting to an assault on the part of the officer. Pussy Riot members Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova say that imprisoning McMillan is a mistake. “Society must organize to save Cecily because she’s really a hero,” Alyokhina told the Times. “She is very similar to us. We also did time and went to prison for our beliefs. We see a lot of parallels.”
Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova, who served prison time in Russia for their protest efforts, say they spoke with McMillan about her social revolutionary efforts. “She told us about the revolution maybe 20 times,” Alyokhina said. “It’s really very important to her.” Tolokonnikova’s husband Peter Verzilov also visited McMillan, and said she seemed to be staying positive. “She might be the happiest prisoner I’ve seen,” he told Mashable.