Police Warn Activists Against Protesting G20
‘I want to find out which orders, which laws and which decrees these raids have been based on.’
Published: August 28, 2013 (Issue # 1775)
The Legislative Assembly’s Communist deputy Irina Komolova said the police visited her parents’ apartment, where she was registered as living, to issue her a warning in advance of the G20 Leaders’ Summit, to be held in St. Petersburg on Sept. 5 and 6.
Police visits were also reported by other activists, who have suggested that the authorities are working from a watch list compiled in violation of the law on personal data.
On Aug. 21, two young officers asked Komolova’s parents where their daughter was and whether she was “planning a terrorist attack,” Komolova wrote on her blog.
“They honestly admitted to my terrified parents that they were instructed to visit ‘politically unreliable’ people who had previously been detained for having ‘political motives’ leading up to the summit,” she said.
Despite her parliamentary immunity, Komolova was arrested during a massive protest on St. Isaac’s Square against vote rigging during the Russian presidential election in March 2012. The police detained nearly 500 people out of the thousands who came to protest the re-election of Vladimir Putin as the Russian president.
Komolova said the officers interrogated her mother and made her sign a document containing their version of her answers.
Speaking to The St. Petersburg Times on Monday, Komolova said the police visits were not widespread.
“Even my closest comrades, who were included on those lists due to their detention in March 2012 and could reasonably expect that the police would visit them, were not visited by anyone,” she said. “I can’t say it’s a massive campaign, but it still exists and raises important questions.”
Lists of politically suspect people have been known to exist for a long time.
“This list has always existed, but as an outsider looking in, I suspect that they have several different lists compiled by different agencies,” she said.
“For instance, the anti-extremist center “E” has old lists containing all of our names, from when we were young. I think they are quite thorough and know very well where everyone lives. This has happened many times during past summits and large international conferences, when they visited people’s homes — not where they were registered as living. People were also routinely detained when they were leaving home or work to prevent them from going to a rally.”
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