Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Arkhangelsk Protesters Clash with Siloviki and ‘There Are Victims’

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 27 – Protests in the Russian North have passed another red line. First, people there protested without permission Moscow’s plans to dump trash from the capital in their backyards. Then, they tore down the wall that had been erected around the site. And now, they have clashed with police. As Novaya gazeta laconically puts it, “there are victims.”

            The paper’s correspondent, Tatyana Britskaya, says that “in spite of the protests of local residents,” those committed to building a dump for Moscow trash have erected a wall around the site. Local people have assembled to protest, and “a group of men in guard uniforms have attacked them” (novayagazeta.ru/news/2019/05/27/152018-na-stantsii-shies-v-arhangelskoy-oblasti-proizoshlo-stolknovenie-protestuyuschih-i-silovikov-est-postradavshie).

            The guards had been pushing people away from the site in order to allow construction equipment to enter. When the builders began to unload the trucks, “the police, OMON, and the private guards” attacked the protests. At least three demonstrators were seriously wounded as a result. The police and OMON are now keeping people away from the site.

            According to Ivan Ivanov, vice president of the Committee for the Defense of Vychegdy, the region where officials want to build the dump, “this is the first case when the OMON moved against the local residents.”  That action transforms the situation. Either the population will back down, or there is likely to be more violence. 

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