St Petersburg City Hall refuses to allow anti-fascists to march in memory of Markelov and Baburova

11 January 2013

Source: (info) 
St. Petersburg city hall has refused to allow an anti-fascist march to be held on 19 January on the anniversary of the death of the lawyer Stanislav Markelov and the journalists Anastasia Baburova. 

Citing the press service of the Anti-Fascists of St Petersburg society, Rosbalt reports that the application for a march from the metro station Gorkovskaya to the Fields of Mars and back was submitted to the authorities on 9 January , ten days before the planned event. The activists were unable to submit the application earlier because of the public holidays at New Year. 

Nonetheless, City Hall officials refused permission to hold the march on the grounds that the regulations concerning timely submissal of an application had been violated and did not suggest any alternative routes or the possibility of further negotiations. 

"So it will not be possible to hold any kind of rally or march on 19 January in our city," the activists say. They emphasize that this is not the first time that a situation of this kind has arisen in St. Petersburg. 

"In past years we also submitted an application to hold a march in the same way, and the organizers were refused on the same grounds. But if then the New Year holiday lasted for a full ten days, which made it impossible to submit an application in good time, now the reasons for the refusal would seem to be completely artificial,” the anti-fascist activists contend. 

They believe that the St Petersburg government is intentionally hindering the holding of public events on a symbolic day for the anti-fascists. 

"The city authorities only make declarations about the fight against fascism, while in practice they pass homophobic laws and restrict human rights, including the right of assembly.` We think that government policy of this kind is inadmissible and extremely dangerous for the whole of Russian society,” the activists say. 

On 19 January last year anti-fascist activists and anarchists in St. Petersburg closed down Nevsky Prospekt and marched along Nevsky Prospekt, closing it to traffic, to Aleksandr Nevsky Square. About 40 people held up banners, lit fireworks and chanted the slogans “We Won’t Forget and We Won’t Forgive”, “318 We're Not Asking for Mercy," "Fascists Kill, the Authorities Cover Up For Them”, “The World Is Multi-Coloured, Not Brown”. The police, despite a high level of preparation, were not able to stop this unexpected demonstration, and the marchended without detentions. 

On 19 January 2009 the lawyer Stanislav Markelov and the young journalist Anastasiya Baburova, who wrote for Novaya gazeta, were killed in Moscow by neo-Nazis. Stanislav Markelov had represented the interests of the victims in the case of the murder of the young Chechen woman Elza Kungaeva. Each year on the day of their murder public events to commemorate and protest against their deaths are held all over Russia. On 19 January this year the Supreme Court is to consider an appeal in the case of a band of neo-Nazis charged with the murder of the St Petersburg academic Nikola Girenko.