Early this week, the headquarter of The Trump Organisation was taken over by members of the Russian feminist punk rock group Pussy Riot. Several activists staged the action in New York to draw attention to the incarceration of political prisoners, two of them in specific; Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov and anarchist Olexandr Kolchenko, both of who are currently in Russian prison. The trial of the both men was labeled ‘unfair’ and ‘marred by credible allegations of torture’, by Amnesty International halfway 2015.

“While Sentsov got 20 years in prison, Kolchenko got ten years. Because they, like you, did not sit by – they were fighting for their freedom in Crimea, which was annexed by Putin,” Pussy Riot stated on their Facebook. In that same statement, the group referred to a time in which several of their members were imprisoned, and the importance of the support they received in those days:

“We remember when we were imprisoned, we received news about hundreds of activists around the world putting on balaclavas and going to the streets to support us. That was the moment we understood we are not alone. But we should not forget that even though we’ve come to the other side of the fence, there are still hundreds of political prisoners behind bars waiting for your support. We received a lot of letters, smiles, and noise from you.”

Their statements strongly accords with one CANVAS-publication in particular: Making Oppression Backfire by Srdja Popovic and Tori Porell. This work does not only focus on the key element of supporting your fellow activists when they end up behind bars, but also looks at the essential features of making the particular form of oppression public and supporting your activists during the trial phase. In this same work, CANVAS captures the importance of not only executing nonviolent actions, but also recording and spreading these actions, to have maximum outreach and impact.

With their action in the Trump-tower, Pussy Riot does exactly that. The location to perform their action was not chosen randomly. Although the direct cause for their protest was the imprisonment at the hands of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, there are clear parallels with the American President and his style of leadership. “We are acting in solidarity against leaders like Putin, who has exercised authoritarian force and Trump, who is displaying authoritarian tendencies — because we all need to be fighting together on behalf of dissidents everywhere,” according to Pussy Riot.

Read more about Pussy Riot’s New York protest here, here and here.

Photograph: Screenshot Video Pussy Riot Facebook