The former mayor of New York City during the 1980s has compared the behavior of an all-girl Russian punk band to AIDS activists, reports. In a commentary, Ed Koch defended the punishment of the three members of Pussy Riot for singing protest songs against Vladimir Putin in a Russian Orthodox church because its leadership supports the Russian president. The women were sentenced to two years each in prison. He compared their action to when ACT UP disrupted services in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in 1989 to protest the anti-condoms stance of the Roman Catholic Church. He recalled that some arrests were made, but no one was punished. Koch said the degree of punishment could be argued—specifically, whether fines should have been given instead of jail time—but that the decision to punish Pussy Riot should be “applauded.”

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