Chernobyl Day Protests in Moscow - Unprecedented Violence from Kremlin
Activists protesting against nuclear waste imports and journalists beaten by
police near Kremiln
On April 25 young activists from 30 Russian cities gathered in the center of
Moscow on the Red Square to protests against nuclear waste shipment to
Russia and against nuclear energy development in general. Action was
dedicated to 16 anniversary of Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
Activists dressed in special uniform, marked by "radiation danger" sign
crawled across the Red Square up to the Kremlin gates. This symbolized
bringing of the nuclear waste right to the Kremlin, where the chief
Journalists from international media outlets came to cover the event. One
must say that action on the Red Square was a bold venture, as it is one of
the most guarded places in Russia.
The action lasted for approximately 10 minutes, when police came and without
any warnings or requests to leave the place started beating people up. One
of the girls was slammed with its head against bars of the metal fence,
Vladimir Slivyak, SEU Antinuclear Campaign, was thrown down and stampeded by
police boots. More than 20 activists from Moscow, Kaliningrad, Voronezh,
Vladimir, Yekaterinburg, Ryazan, Orel, Ozersk (city where Mayak nuclear
waste processing plant is situated) got arrested.
Not only activists suffered from unprecedented police violence. Jounrnalists
who came to cover the event were also beaten and arrested, their video and
photo cameras were taken away, videotapes and film cassetes were take out of
the cameras. One of the cameras was broken.
Multiple tourists walking around the Red Square observed this battlefield.
Police searched the nearest streets for activists and journalists who
escaped from the Square.
Among police victims are journalists from Internews and several newspapers -
they got arrested. Videotapes were taken from Reuters crew.
"After the action the square was covered by the light-stuck films," - says
one of the witnesses.
"We have not seen such violence from police for a long time. It seems that
there was a special order to act like this" - says another activists who
escaped the arrest and managed to smuggle the film and camera away.
Photos by Alisa Nikulina and Vlad Tupikin