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Opposition march in Nizhny Novgorod (Russia) broken up, with more than 200 detained

25.03.2007    source:
According to the Deputy Governor of the region the march was "not of interest". One wonders whether that’s why 20 thousand police and riot police were mobilized, the action dispersed and more than 200 people detained, some apparently beaten up

In dispersing the “March of those in dissent”,  the Nizhny Novgorod police detained more than 200 people. According to correspondent from “Ekho Moskvy” [Moscow radio station], some were beaten up, and some are still being held in the police station.

Among those detained were journalists from the Russian and foreign media covering events in Nizhny Novgorod. Journalists were also beaten in the police station. The “Ekho Moskvy” correspondent reports: “The face of one of the journalists who was released from the police station was covered in bruises and his jacket was ripped”.

20 thousand law enforcement officers were out on the streets of the city on Saturday. In fact no more than 50 police took part in the actual protest action in the city centre, since the rest had been detained already in the morning. The opposition action lasted no more than 10 minutes and was then crushed by the police and OMON [riot police]. All of them, including elderly people and journalists were shoved into buses and taken to police stations. According to some reports, those detained in the buses were brutally beaten. 

In the morning the police had detained more than 100 people who had arrived to take part in the march. Among those detained were Gary Kasparov’s adviser Marina Litvinovich, the leader of the “Pora” organization Andrei Sidelnikov, the head of the Russia-Chechnya Friendship Society Stanislav Dmitrievsky and the leader of the Avant-garde of Red Youth Sergei Udaltsov. They were held in something like a sports gym without food or water.

Later the three members of the United Civic Front were sent home under police convoy. They also released Marina Litvinovich who told reporters that she had been detained twice that day. At present it is not clear what is happening with the other people detained.

Meanwhile the central police department in Nizhny Novgorod stated that 30 people had been detained. The department said that there included three of the organizers of the action, the others were supporters.

The Deputy Governor of the Nizhny Novgorod region Sergei Potapov claimed that there had been no violence and that the march had been postponed since in that place children had planned a festival – “City of masters” [i.e. specialists in crafts, etc]. He further claimed that the events had confirmed that the Nizhny Novgorod march was not interesting, and that the children’s festival was much more important. “The organizers were just happy at what they’d organized”, he said. The children’s festival, despite what was happening nearby, did not stop for a second.

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