No grieving except to order
Moscow police on Sunday 3 September broke up an unsanctioned* meeting in memory of the victims of Beslan which the organizers were planning to hold at Solovky Stone on Lubyanka.
According to the Grani.ru correspondent 13 people were detained. (other reports suggest 14, or 15 – 20 translator)
Several dozen people arrived at Lubyanka Square to find that the area around the Solovky Stone was surrounded by police with dogs. They took position therefore near the cordoned off area and unfurled banners reading “We mourn” and “In Memory of the Children”. There were no political slogans.
The police and OMON [riot police] officers detained all those holding banners, and took them to the police station at Kitai Gorod [the nearest central district in Moscow]. Those detained included Lev Ponomaryov, head of the movement “For Human Rights”, activist of the Anti-Military Action Committee Mikhail Kriger, member of the executive committee of the SPS [Union of Right Forces] party Mikhail Shneider. According to an officer from the police station the people detained are accused under two articles – holding an unsanctioned meeting and resisting police officers.
Some of the people taking part in the meeting – around 30 to 40 – remained at the Solovky Stone. Without trying to get through the cordon, they placed flowers on the asphalt, bottles with water, and lit candles in remembrance. They then held a minutes silence. The police did not interfere.
The organizers of the meeting were the movement “For Human Rights”, the Sakharov Memorial Museum and Centre, the Anti-Military Action Committee, the Moscow branch of the SPS party and “Yabloko”. The applications they made to hold a memorial meeting on that day to the victims of terrorism were twice turned down by the Moscow Prefecture. The first time it was suggested that they postpone the meeting in connection with “preparation for and holding on 3 September of festive events in the city”. The second refusal was claimed to be on the grounds of security.