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Anti-War Protest Leads to Arrests, Violence

One demonstrator was seen in a police vehicle displaying a sheet of paper bearing the Soviet slogan Peace to the world.

Published: March 5, 2014 (Issue # 1800)



  • Two anti-war protesters being taken into custody by police at a rally in front of St. Isaacs Cathedral Sunday.
    Photo: Sergey Chernoc / SPT

Concerned citizens gathered to protest Russias military involvement in Ukraine on St. Isaacs Square Sunday. The protesters found themselves under attack by men wearing Cossack costumes or hats, and OMON riot police. Some of those gathered were beaten, pelted with excrement and insulted by pro-Kremlin opponents, while more than 30 were detained, most without obvious cause.

The Legislative Assemblys opposition deputies Maxim Reznik and Olga Galkina arrived near the Mariinsky Palace, the seat of the Legislative Assembly, to announce the creation of an anti-war committee and invited those gathered to sign a statement of intent.

Related: Local Activists Protest in Kiev

However, when reaching the gardens opposite St. Isaacs Cathedral, where hundreds had already assembled, Reznik urged people to leave due to the presence of pro-Kremlin agitators and the threat of imminent arrests.

Reznik invited them to the Field of Mars the following week, by which time he said he would secure authorization for a rally from city authorities. Reznik said the authorized protest there would be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Mar. 8. He left soon after, but people remained in the gardens.

Several policemen walked among the crowd announcing that the event was illegal through a megaphone and warning the assembled of their responsibility and that arrests would follow for failing to obey police orders. The officers did not respond to questions as to which statues the gathering allegedly violated or which police orders were being referred to.

A number of protesters had sheets of paper or placards reading No to fratricidal war, I have relatives in Kiev. I dont want them to be killed. No to war! Stop the war. Leave Ukraine in peace, Putin, dont heat up! People of Russia and Ukraine refuse to die for your imperial ambitions and your oligarchs vested interests. Stop the intervention!

A number of men, some dressed as Cossacks, were quick to assault the protesters and destroy the placards, while deputy Vitaly Milonov, who has made a number of anti-Ukrainian statements since the Euro Maidan protests began in Kiev in November 2013, was seen walking around the gardens insulting protesters.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Aug. 21


Time is running out to see the fantastic creations on display at the 2014 Sand Castle Festival on the beach at the Peter and Paul Fortress. Adhering to the theme of Treasure Island, visitors can wander amongst larger-than-life interpretations of pirate life or attend one of the workshops held to educate a future generation of sand artists. The castles will remain on the beach until Aug. 31.



Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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