Saturday, July 24, 2010

Russia: Unknown People in Masks and Police Attack Environmentalists

As seen on Global Voices: Russia: Unknown People in Masks and Police Attack Environmentalists

From 20 to 40 young people in white masks attacked the camp of the defenders of the Khimki forest park [RUS], Igor Podgorny [RUS] and Novaya Gazeta [RUS] reported. The police intervention didn't help – instead several environmentalists and journalists were detained.

Sounds nasty. By now a couple of main stream international media have picked up the story. Like AP: Police detain Moscow forest activists

Russian police on Friday detained two journalists and 15 protesters at a suburban Moscow forest where they have been living to try to protect the woods from destruction. [...] The forest in Khimki has been the focus of controversy for years over plans to chop down much of it for highway construction. Khimki lies on the increasingly jammed route from Moscow to Sheremetyevo International Airport and St. Petersburg, Russia's second-largest city. A local newspaper editor who reported extensively on the issue was severely beaten in 2008 and left wheelchair-bound and brain-damaged. [...] The activists called the police at the break of dawn on Friday when a group of some 100 young men who had covered their faces blocked the campsite, thus allowing the [tree chopping in an alledgedly illegal area] work to resume, Moscow Regional police said in a statement.

An associated protest was similarly cracked down upon reports The Moscow Times: 5 Detained in Bid to Give Khimki Timber to Putin

“The police swooped down on us and detained us, acting in a very rude and harsh fashion and turning a peaceful event into a brawl,” [head of the Left Front group, Sergei] Udaltsov said

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