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Police Raid Rally as Human Rights Activists Appeal to Ministry

Published: April 7, 2009 (Issue # 1463)


Human rights activists appealed to Russias Interior Minister about alleged police beatings and humiliation of protesters in St. Petersburg last month, while the police broke up a peaceful rally against police arbitrariness and arrested a number of participants on Saturday. Four protesters were held in custody for 48 hours until they were released by a court on Monday afternoon.

The protest and appeal both addressed a protest held by anarchists in St. Petersburg on March 27 in support of workers who took control of their plant in Kherson, Ukraine on Feb. 2. The demonstration was brutally dispersed by the police, who detained around 20 participants, some of whom later complained of being beaten and humiliated during the arrests and after being taken to Police Precinct 76.

On Saturday, anarchists and ant-Nazi activists held 48 one-person protests a form of demonstration that does not require any authorization from City Hall along Nevsky Prospekt, St. Petersburgs main street, but were dispersed by the police, who detained five protesters and a photographer.

Protesters stood at a 20-meter distance from each other, holding posters with slogans against police arbitrariness such as No to Unlawfulness and Policeman, I Pay You with My Taxes, as well as rather more absurdist ones such as Its Scary to Live and Jah Is With Us. Some had taped over their mouths so as not to be charged with using bad language in public one of the standard charges used by the police against activists in the event of being detained.

I came out to hold a one-person demo to protest against police arbitrariness, read the leaflet that protesters handed out to passers-by.

A one-person demo doesnt require any authorization. But the policemen do not know the laws and invent various pretexts for detainments. Thats why my mouth is taped so that the police shouldnt attempt to charge me with using bad language or drinking strong alcoholic drinks in public again.

Two detained activists were charged with resisting arrest, and two with violating the rules for holding public events.

It is obviously unlawful when people who attempt to act in a legal way are stopped and detained, said one protest participant who only gave his first name, Dmitry, by phone on Monday.

It appears that now, because of the crisis, everybody is afraid of everybody, they want to stop people from protesting. Thats why even the funniest and most absurd slogans are seen as a political demonstration and nipped in the bud.

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Wednesday, Apr. 16


Learn more about AmChams efforts during the Joint Manufacturing, and Investment and Legal Committees Meeting today at 9 a.m. Check their website for more information about the event.


Today marks the beginning of IPhEB and CPhI Russia 2014, an international forum for the pharmaceutical industry and biotechnology that will be at LenExpo today and tomorrow. Those both already established in the industries and hoping to start a career are encouraged to attend and network with their colleagues.


Thursday, Apr. 17


Expocenter Eurasia at 13 Ulitsa Kapitan Voronin is the sight of Goods on the Way, a five-day event starting today showcasing the latest in the industrial products industry. Bags, backpacks, swimsuits and much, much more will be available to attendees hoping to update not only their style but their accessories for the upcoming summer.


Friday, Apr. 18


Teachers and students alike shouldnt miss the opportunity to establish lasting contacts with Russian and foreign institutions during the 21st Education and Career Fair at LenExpo, beginning today and finishing tomorrow. Learn more about education in Russia and connect with your fellow scholars.


The Tromso International Film Festival, Norways largest, brings a short festival to St. Petersburg for one day only during Scandinavian Oddities, starting at 7 p.m. today at Rodina Cinema Center. Tickets for the event are 100 rubles ($2.80).


Sunday, Apr. 20


Celebrate Easter at Pavlovsk during the Easter Fair that begins today and continues through next Sunday. Visitors will have the chance to paint Easter eggs and children can take part in games as well as help decorate a tree in honor of Christianitys holiest day.


Today is one of the final days to see the exhibit Cacti Children of the Sun at the Peter the Great Botanical Garden. Starting Apr. 17, budding botanists will marvel at the variety and beauty of the deserts most iconic plant.


Monday, Apr. 21


Improve your grasp of Neruda, Bolano and Marquez at TrueDAs Beginners Spanish Lesson this evening at their location on the Petrograd Side. An experienced teacher will be on hand to help all attendees better understand the intricacies of the language and improve their accent.


Tuesday, Apr. 22


SPIBAs Breakfast with the Director event series continues as the association welcomes Andrei Barannikov, general director of SPN Communications, to the Anna Pavlova Hall of the Angleterre Hotel this morning at 9 a.m. Attendees must confirm their participation by Apr. 21.


The AmCham Environment, Health and Safety Committee Meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. this morning in the their St. Petersburg office.