Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Saratov Police Raid Shows Long-Haul Truckers’ Strike Still in Active Phase

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 6 – Despite Moscow media claims that the truckers’ strike is over and union leaders’ statements that their protest has shifted from the highways to the courts, a police raid on a group of truckers still very much on strike in Saratov indicates that the strike goes on and that the authorities are trying to snuff it out by force.

            Yesterday, regional media reported but Moscow media did not that law enforcement organs in the city of Engelsk in Saratov oblast had made an unsuccessful attempt to disperse striking drivers from the encampment where they have been since the start of the strike  March 27 (vzsar.ru/news/2017/06/06/v-engelse-predprinyata-popytka-razgona-stachki-dalnoboischikov.html, 4vsar.ru/news/90468.html and  saratov.versia.ru/protestuyushhie-dalnobojshhiki-zayavili-o-popytke-svernut-ix-lager).

            The police charged the drivers with engaging in an illegal meeting even though the authorities had earlier given their permission for the truckers to assemble where they were. The drivers said they were not discouraged and would continue to press their demand for an end to the Plato fee system and for meetings with people in power to discuss their grievances.

            One driver, Aleksey Kaldikhin, said the police behaved atrociously and that as far as he and the other drivers are concerned, what happened was “a punitive operation” of the purest kind. The authorities “conducted themselves” like “fascist occupiers” (nversia.ru/news/view/id/107166).

            Meanwhile, in other strike news, police released three truckers they had detained last weekend (echo.msk.ru/news/1993758-echo.html), and a new analysis of protests shows that regional actions can be quite strong but that they have not been able to come together to make themselves an all-Russian cause (http://iz.ru/602922/natalia-rozhkova/moskovskaia-renovatciia-ne-zainteresovala-regiony).

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