Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The following is from the English language section of the Russian anarchist site Avtonom. Molly has blogged on a couple of these actions previously. The following has been slightly edited for reasons of English grammar.

Actions against police brutality continue in Moscow and around the world
Yesterday 18th of April a demonstration marching from Pushkin square towards Belarus Railway station blocked Tverskaya street between 7:40 and 20:10 PM in Moscow. This was a continuation of the reaction to brutal torture at Sokolniky police station 4th of April (,and the legal action 11th of April which finished in a confrontation, provoked by the OMON riot police ( As legalizing an action does not guarantee freedom from police infringement, this time people decided to go without it. There was also a legal action the same day, announced by some human rights activists, which police ordered to Bolotnaya Square -an isolated spot in a park in an island in the Moscow river, where there were no any passers by at 300 meter radius. Eventually up to 100 mostly old school liberal activists gathered there.
But lack of passers by was not the case with Pushkinskaya square, one of the main hang-arounds in the center of Moscow. Police had not received a hint of the alternative plan, and a march with huge 10+ meter banner with text "No to brutality" and with a picture of crossed-over cop was unrolled to halt all traffic on the Tverskaya street in the exit direction from Moscow. Some 200 demonstrators lit sea torches and other fireworks and shouted anti-police slogans - Our cops are "protecting us", first they frame us up and then they beat us up!, This is our city!, Get to the streets - reclaim the city!, Antifa!, Raise the black flag higher -the state is our main enemy! and international A.C.A.B! Pushkin square constantly has a van of cops on guard in case of illegal protests, but they were slow to react. Eventually the action was followed by 3 buses of OMON riot police, but as they ended up to huge traffic jam caused by the action. They only made it to Belorussian station 5-10 minutes after marchers had dispersed and disappeared. Good, as blocking a road of federal importance may result felony charges in Russia.
Although not all participators were anarchists, this was definitely among the most significant actions initiated by the anti-authoritarian scene in Moscow during the last 20 years. The information agency "RIA-Novosti" was relying solely on police sources, and they announced that "a huge traffic jam in the center was due to 20 football hooligans crossing the road". This claim was widely ridiculed in the internet, but published by surprisingly many mainstream sources - apparently these days there is not much free media in Russia left outside the internet.
Besides Moscow, the last two weeks have seen solidarity actions in Arkangelsk, Samara, Tyumen and St. Petersburg of Russia and in Helsinki and Kiev abroad. Actions are also planned at least in Paris and Sidney.
The struggle continues!

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