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15.08.2011

Simferopol Police threaten 15 day imprisonment for flash mob

   

The Internet publication Novy Region reports that the Crimean Central MIA Department warned the organizers and participants in a planned satirical flash mob that they would face administrative proceedings for holding the action. They claimed that such events could only be held with the permission of the Simferopol City Council.

The Police Department stated that it had received information on 11 August about the flash mob planned for Saturday 13 August by opponents of the Crimean Prime Minister, Vasyl Dzharty.  The organizer, they said, Serhiy Veselovsky was calling on people to take part, bringing empty beer bottles with pieces of material in them.  These were to be placed around Lenin Square and the steps of the Council of Ministers in imitation of Molotov cocktails for setting the building alight. The flash mob was entitled: “Hello, Vasily Georgievych”! [i.e. Dzharty]

The Police do mention another reason for the action: protest against the sale of alcohol to minors.

In view of this they state that the Simferopol City Council did not receive the official notification of the planned event.

“The organization, running and participation in this event will be viewed as infringement of current legislation regarding attempts against the established order of governance”.  They say that this carries a fine starting from 170 UAH or administrative imprisonment for up to 15 days.

The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union quotes human rights defence Oleksandra Dvoretska’s comments:

“Dangerous things are happening in the Crimea. Now planned flash mobs have ended up outside the law. Nobody in the Central Department of the MIA would seem to have heard of Article 39 of the Constitution and Article 11 of the European Convention.

It’s hard for young people to understand how they can now hold flash mobs if these cannot by definition have organizers (leaders), and where the participants often don’t know each other and simply agree in advance to do certain things.

The situation in the Crimea is getting worse, with civic activists and journalists receiving close attention from the authorities.  In a one-to-one conversation with one of the organizers, police threatened to fine all under Article 152 of the Administrative Code. Three video cameras will be used to film all participants. No one will remain unpunished.

It is clear that the authorities by means of restriction of the right to peaceful assembly afraid of any criticism against them and reject any dialogue with the public.

Active young people come out against such kind of MIA statements which are in the interests of the authorities, not of the law.

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