Lukin: People Must Not be Detained for Wearing White Ribbons

Source: (info), 03/04/12

· Public protests

Russia's human rights ombudsman, Vladimir Lukin, has stated that it is impermissible for the police to detain anyone for the sole reason that they are wearing a white ribbon.

"In my person opinion, the presence on someone’s clothing of certain decorations that are not indecent is no grounds to limit their liberty,” Lukin said, answering a request by journalists to comment on the detention of people wearing white ribbons in Moscow, RIA Novosti reports. Lukin added that in order for him to have a clear picture it would be necessary for him to study what motives the police had for making these detentions.

As reports, on 1 April on Red Square more than 80 participants in an event entitled ‘White Square’ were detained. Stanislav Pozdnyakov, a Solidarity activist who was detained on Sunday at the ‘White Square’ event and was beaten by police, may face criminal charges.

Moscow City Police Department confirmed that Red Square was open to the public. However, on Red Square police officers told participants in the event that the gates to the Square were closed for ‘training’ purposes, without explaining what this meant exactly.

On 25 March on Red Square police officers detained about 30 people wearing white ribbons. Activists were detained without any explanation being given. The police also detained those who were filming the detentions of people with white ribbons.

A week before this at the memorial to Marshal Zhukov the police detained 12 people wearing white ribbons and carrying white balloons. Among them were also members of Solidarity, the White Ribbon movement and civic activists. After walking on Red Square civic activist Boris Beilinson let a balloon fly up into the sky to which was attached a white ribbon with the word ‘Freedom’ written on it. After this, the police began to make detentions without giving any explanation.

The first detentions of people wearing white ribbons took place on 5 March the day after the presidential elections.