Voices from Russia

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Russian Police Break up Anti-Putin Rally


On Sunday, police cracked down on an anti-Putin rally in Moscow, making arrests after hundreds of demonstrators broke through their lines in a bid to take their protest to the Kremlin walls. Protesters shouted as the cops reformed and the clash continued, saying, “Fascists! You’re breaking the law!” Police said that protesters armed with bottles and stones injured a number of officers. A number of police helmets floated in the Moskva River after protesters tore them from the coppers.

Violence flared up after protest leader Sergei Udaltsov led a mass sit-in and demanded the right to march directly to the Kremlin and for the annulment of President-elect Vladimir Putin’s victory at the disputed 4 March presidential election. Udaltsov, leader of the Left Front, was amongst those detained. Cops also nicked well-known blogger and anti-corruption activist Aleksei Navalny and former Yeltsin-era Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov. After his arrest, Navalny urged protesters via a Twitter post, “Don’t leave! Stay for as long as it takes!” Protesters erected three tents at Bolotnaya Square, the planned end-point of Sunday’s rally. A RIA-Novosti correspondent at the scene reported arbitrary arrests and said that eight cops arrested one protester for the apparent crime of wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, the symbol of the global Occupy Movement. Police also said protesters beat a number of journalists from the state-run NTV channel. Earlier this year, NTV aired a controversial documentary that alleged protesters were paid “cookies and money” to attend last winter’s For Fair Elections rallies.

Opposition figures and RIA-Novosti correspondents at the scene estimated a crowd of around 50,000. Udaltsov said in a Twitter post that there were “no less than 100,000” at the rally. A police spokesman said there were 8,000 people present and that Udaltsov had “been out in the sun too long”. A Just Russia parliamentarian Ilya Ponomarev also estimated a crowd of 100,000. Political analyst Dmitri Oreshkin told the Dozhd online TV channel {Dozhd is beloved by US neocons and interventionists alike… Katrina vanden Heuvel is in orgasm over them… caveat vidisti: editor}, “This wasn’t Udaltsov’s rally. This was a rally of angry citizens”.

Amidst allegations of election fraud, Putin won a landslide victory in the 4 March elections to secure a third term in the Kremlin after being forced to step down by the Constitution in 2008. Udaltsov said that police in several Russia regions had detained activists attempting to travel to the demonstration. As at previous marches, the protesters represented a wide range of political views and organisations, from communists to anarchists, from liberal reformers {“liberal” means “radical libertarian rightwing” in US terms: editor} to nationalists. Ahead of the march, websites of a number of independent media outlets reported coming under apparent hacker attack. Also on Sunday, Putin supporters gathered across town at a separate rally. Organizers said some 50,000 people attended it. Opposition figures accused the authorities of coercing government employees to attend previous pro-Putin rallies in recent months. Putin admitted earlier this year that the accusations could be true, but said that we “shouldn’t exaggerate” the effect on crowd numbers.

6 May 2012

Aleksei Yeremenko

Marc Bennetts



Editor’s Note:

There weren’t enough OMONtsy present to break up a determined rally of 50,000… that means that the number present was probably a figure in-between the police and protestor estimates, that’s to say, it’s very probable that there were 25,000 present, and a small group of maybe 500 broke for the Kremlin, a group small enough for the OMONtsy black berets to contain. When the hardheads provoked a response from the black berets, it’s clear that many of the rest of the crowd decided, “Discretion is the better part of valour”, and left the scene. In short, there’s NO popular discontent with Putin’s election. There IS discontent amongst some elements in the Two Capitals (Moscow and Piter), but nothing that the MVD can’t manage. Most of the hardheads are pro-American zapadniki lickspittles, as was shown by some of their leaders making the hajj to the American Embassy to kiss McFaul’s bum.

VVP’s not in danger from these sorts. He’s turned “Left”, and that’s all that there’s to say on the matter. Bet on RED, kids…



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