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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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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Aug. 1


Bikers from all around the world will gather to take part in a parade, extreme shows and rock concerts during the International Biker Festival that revs its engines today and runs through Aug. 3 near Olgino Hotel, 4/2 Primorskogo Shosse.


The Peter and Paul Fortress will be turned into an open-air cinema today and tomorrow as part of the 5th International Short and Animation Film Festival. A huge screen across the fortress walls will air short films non-stop with board games, photo sessions and other activities also on offer for visitors. For more information, visit www.opencinemafest.ru



Saturday, Aug. 2


Gatchina Palace Park Museum will host its second annual Night of Light, an impressive audio-visual show across the night sky. Tickets are 600 rubles ($16).


If graphic design is more your thing then check out Illustration Day, where you will be able to visit an exhibition, attend lectures by professionals and even show experts some of your own work. The event starts at noon at Zona Deystvia, 73 Ligovsky Prospekt. The entrance fee is 350 rubles ($10).



Sunday, Aug. 3


History lovers shouldnt miss the chance to see reenactments of World War I battles in Pushkin at noon. Besides exciting war scenes, visitors can enjoy live music, historical costumes, an equestrian show and a fancy-dress parade starting from the Moscow gates.


Garage Sale, the popular and growing flea market where nothing is priced over 500 rubles ($14.11), starts today at noon in Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt. Be sure to get in early to score a bargain. Entry costs 50 rubles ($1.40)



Monday, Aug. 4


Continue the working week with a calm and steady mind with a free yoga lesson at 7 p.m. in the Bukvoyed store at 23A Vladimirsky Prospekt.



Tuesday, Aug. 5


Visit The Romanov Dynasty doll exhibition today, where more than fifty porcelain dolls depicting Russian rulers, and made by Olina Ventzel, will be on show. The exhibition continues through Aug. 31 in Sheremetyev Palace, 34 Fontanka Naberezhnaya.



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