Nationalists Given Jail Time Following Rally
Published: August 14, 2013 (Issue # 1773)
The authorities shut down a nationalist rally against immigrants, arresting over 20 people — including local nationalist leader Nikolai Bondarik — and handing out unusually harsh punishments to them on Friday, August 9. Bondarik was sentenced to 15 days in prison.
On the same day, City Hall banned a protest in defense of immigrant rights scheduled to be held in the city this week.
Dozens of nationalists and locals assembled near Ulitsa Dybenko Metro in eastern outskirts of St. Petersburg at about 7 p.m. Friday to demand that immigrants be evicted and deported after the recent murder of a local man.
Earlier that day, the police reported that a 36-year-old Central-Asian-born man was detained for stabbing a 24-year-old local during a street quarrel in the neighborhood on August 5. The police said the murder resulted from a quarrel between three locals, who were drunk, and two migrants, adding that the had previously been tried for drug trafficking and had been arrested for disorderly conduct.
When the protesters arrived, they found that a previously unannounced local celebration, with music and dance performances, was being held on the site and a large number of police officers and OMON riot police were present. Videos from the event show angry people arguing with police officers, raising fists and shouting “We won’t forget, we won’t forgive” and “Evict them,” while one man wearing a paratroopers’ striped shirt shouts, “They cut us up, Russian people, like sheep.”
One man was shown in a video on the Nevsky Express website demanding public execution for the murderers, while another lights a flare. After the flare was extinguished by an officer, the OMON riot police surrounded the group of protesters, making more than 20 arrests.
According to Vladimir Volokhonsky, an activist with the Help for the Detained in St. Petersburg group, 24 people were taken to a police station and charged with violating the rules for holding public events and failing to follow a police instructions.
“Some of them were held for a lengthy period in a police vehicle, which means that the officers abused their rights by not taking them to a police station as soon as possible as demanded by law,” he said. “In the end, the last to be detained weren’t taken to the police station until after midnight.”
On Saturday morning, the detainees were taken to the Nevsky District Court, where chairman Sergei Gorobets banned the public and the media from the hearings, Volokhonsky said.
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