Arrests in St. Petersburg at protests in support of the Bolotnaya prisoners

posted 26 Feb 2014, 14:09 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 26 Feb 2014, 14:20 ]
24 February 2014

Source: (info)
At least 60 people have been detained in a protest rally supporting the ‘Bolotnaya prisoners’ in St. Petersburg. Several hundred people, including members of the St. Petersburg legislative assembly, took part in a protest in solidarity with the ‘Bolotnaya’ prisoners who have been sentenced in Moscow.
The first arrests happened several minutes after the beginning of the protest when the participants began to sing the song, ‘The walls will come down’ ("Steny rukhnut"). Among those who were sent off in police vans were deputies Maksim Reznik and Olga Galkina, the BBC reports.

"We’re sitting in the 28th precinct police station” Galkina wrote on her social network page. She observed that in the same police station as her there were more than 30 detainees. The deputy also noted that at the protest ‘for the first time they knocked me to the ground.’

It’s curious that at the same time when Maksim Reznik, also detained by the police, arrived at the police station he was not allowed inside.

In an interview with the BBC the deputy said that he and Galkina had been put in the police bus for arrestees after they had tried to stop the arrest of Aleksandra Krylenkova,
coordinator of the organization ‘Public Observers of St. Petersburg’.

The deputy could not say what had led to the arrest of the other protestors.

"It’s best to ask the police about that. It seems to me they just waited for any pretext, any kind of organized actions,” the deputy said.

At the same time the ‘Group of Assistance to Arrestees’ is gathering witness statements via social networking sites about those who were taken to the police station.

Some of the activists report that the number of people arrested is far greater – as many as 100, and includes 10 journalists. According to the observers, people are being kept in several police stations: Nos. 78, 52 and 28. 

(Left) Arrest of 85-year-old (!) Vitold Yulevich Zalessky, member of Memorial, physicist and mathematician. St. Petersburg. 24 February 2014 

Maksim Reznik said that as of 10 pm none of those detained had been released (except for Olga Galkina, who herself refused to leave until all the others who had been detained were also allowed to go).

Several have been charged with resisting police officers. However the deputy hopes that everyone will be allowed out of the police station by the morning.