Moscow Police violently disperse peaceful protest


On 31 May 2010 riot police violently dispersed an unauthorized rally, detaining more than 130 people. According to witnesses, the police forced people to the ground, beat them and pushed them into police buses.

A representative for the police claimed that the organizers had been offered a number of other places to gather, but that they had insisted on gathering at Victory Square where, she said, an action for donating blood for children was taking place.

The cynicism of this argument is striking given that the March of Dissent demonstrators have been endeavouring to hold demonstrations at Victory Square on the 31st of each month for some time.  They are specifically defending Article 31 of the Constitution which guarantees the right to peaceful protest, which they believe is being systematically undermined by the present regime.  The authorities regularly think up events to clash with what is an entirely foreseeable attempt by citizens to exercise their right to peaceful protest.

Among those detained were the Chief Editor of the journal New Times, Yevgenia Albats, activists from the movement Solidarity, journalist Alexander Podrabinek and others. Yevgenia Albats says that she was detained while the national anthem was playing, despite having a badge identifying her as a journalist.  The Internet site quotes a number of those present, including those who have been taken to the police station, as saying that even young women have been beaten by the police. The police are apparently planning to hold people over night.

The BBC Russian Service reports that measures were taken against rallies in St. Petersburg and other cities in Russia with people detained.


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