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DC punk bands perform in support of jailed rockers

By Frances Sanchez, CNN
August 11, 2012 -- Updated 1621 GMT (0021 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Protesters convert an empty lot into a stage
  • Musicians come together to show their solidarity for the band Pussy Riot
  • Amnesty International organizes the protest to honor the group's passion for music

Washington (CNN) -- Washington-based bands performed outside the Russian Embassy on Friday evening to support punk rockers imprisoned for performing a song critical of President Vladimir Putin.

Protesters converted an empty lot into a stage where musicians came together to show their solidarity for the band Pussy Riot, whose members face up to seven years in a labor camp.

Tents, food trucks, art work and posters with "Free Pussy Riot" covered bus stops and real estate boards as attendees flocked cross the street from the Russian Embassy.

Amnesty International organized the protest to honor the group's passion for music.

Crowds chanted "Don't lose hope, and Freedom of Expression not Repression." Some protesters wore bright colored balaclava resembling a ski mask similar to the ones worn by the female rockers.

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This is one of the many protests Amnesty International will hold until the women are freed, said Andrea Collins, a DC artist and Amnesty coalition partner.

In Collins' speech before the show, she compared the band's group members, Nadezhda, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina to "the young 20 something's of DC."

"They are just like you and Pussy Riot would be here protesting for other bands," Collins said.

Dave Lesser, lead singer of the band Brenda, pledged to wear his face mask at every protest until the band is free.

He said he hopes the Russian government notices how much attention this case is getting worldwide. Facing jail time for voicing your opinion is ridiculous, he said.

Pussy Riot faces trial in the coming week for playing an impromptu concert in the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow and for criticizing the Russian president.

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