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Police Arrest Anti-Xenophobia Activists

Published: March 31, 2009 (Issue # 1461)


The 15-day Xenophobii.NET (No to Xenophobia) Campaign ended in arrests, when viewers leaving a film screening at Rodina film theater in the center of St. Petersburg were dispersed by the police on Sunday. But while the Russian media, from RTR television to Fontanka.ru news portal, reported a mass fight between Antifa activists and neo-Nazis, both the police and detained film-goers deny any fight took place.

There was no fight, it was prevented, police spokesman Vyacheslav Stepchenko said by phone on Monday.

It seems to be a provocation; the Antifa activists and neo-Nazis never came into contact, an anti-Nazi activist who only gave his first name, Denis, said by phone on Monday.

We tried to walk to the metro in an organized way so as not to be attacked by neo-Nazis, when on Karavannaya Ulitsa we were jumped from behind by policemen with batons. They started to throw us to the ground and drag us into their vehicles.

While the French documentary Antifa Chasseurs de skins (Antifa: Skin Hunters), the final screening of the Open Your Eyes! International Film Event Against Racism and Xenophobia and the last event of the anti-xenophobia campaign, was being shown, a group of neo-Nazis reportedly attempted to attack the packed film theater, which drew more than 500 viewers.

The attempt failed when the police arrived and detained several attackers, according to Yevgeny Konovalov, chairman of the Russian Social-Democratic Union of Youth and one of the campaigns organizers.

Around 30 beefy young men looking like boneheads (Nazi skinheads) attempted to storm Rodina film theater with sticks and stones, but they were scared off by the policemen, Konovalov said by phone on Monday.

Having seen the police, [the attackers] retreated immediately to Nevsky Prospekt, but the police had time to detain three men. When I came out to see what was happening, I saw two handcuffed men being put into a police vehicle.

According to Konovalov, Antifa scouts later reported that a large group of neo-Nazis had gathered on Nevsky.

In my view, its very strange, he said.

On the one hand, thanks to the police for preventing a nationalist attack, but on the other hand, its not clear how they allowed them to come in a large group to the film theater, and then to gather in a large group, 40 or 50 men, on Nevsky Prospekt waiting to attack the people returning from the film theater.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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