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Krasnodar: police breaks the permitted demonstration, environmentalists detained

Press Release

December 12, 2010

On December 12, the YABLOKO party planned to conduct a peaceful action in protection of the Utrish natural reserve. This unique territory, which is threatened with total destruction, owing to the planned construction of a presidential residence and highway.

The Big Utrish reserve was created to protect unique relict landscapes and juniper-pistachio forests, and also the habitats of rare species of animals and plants. This is one of the most significant protected natural territories of Russia. The territory's reserve named Novorossiya was recognised as one of the global centres for plant diversity. This year the Russian Government issued a decision to establish the Utrish reserve here.
Despite this fact, however, the safety of this unique territory is now at risk. This is due to plans by the Administration of the RF President to build in the very heart of the reserve a new state residence (the project is entitled a "sports and recreation complex"). Implementation of this project will destroy the most valuable natural features of the reserve the district of the Utrish relict lagoons.

The police and city administration of Krasnodar impeded with a concert Lets Save the Utrish Natural Reserve! which had to give start to a chain of events in protection of the natural reserve.

An official from the city administration informed YABLOKOs leader Sergei Mitrokhin that a concert which had been permitted by the administration earlier should not be conducted as a childrens concert would be conducted on the same site.

The concert did take place but in a different location. Sergei Mitrokhin made a speech before the gathering at the end of the concert, We are defending several articles of our Constitution on the Constitution Day. These are the right to a favourable environment and the right to conduct peaceful demonstrations.

About 300 people participated in the demonstration under YABLOKOs flags. The demonstrators held slogans Utrish should live! Yes to the Utrish natural reserve! Utirish is a world heritage! Presidents place is in the Kremlin, leave Utrish for the country!

However, the police broke the peaceful demonstration considering the demonstration unlawful despite of the fact that YABLOKO had timely notified the administration of the action. Later during a rally the police detained members of YABLOKOs Green Russia faction Andrei Rudomakha and Suren Gazaryan and environmental activists Dmitry Shevchenko and Dmitry Shabalin. The detention was conducted with grave violations of the law On Police, with the use of physical force and special means [of suppression].

On the Constitution Day the Krasnodar administration serving for the Governor demonstrated its arbitrary rule. We are defending our right on favourable environment, the right to life and rallies, said Sergei Mitrokhin speaking at the rally. Sergei Mitrokhin and the participants of the rally went to the police department where arrested environmentalists were held.

Shevchenko and Gazaryan were unlawfully detained in the police department of Krasnodar for three hours until arrival of a lawyer and YABLOKOs leader there. Gazaryan was beaten and unlawfully held in handcuffs for three hours.

"Authorities, obey the law!"

The police released the activists only upon arrival of Sergei Mitrokhin and Chair of the Krasnodar YABLOKO Vladimir Rakhno to the police department.

Photogpraphs by Yu.Vlasov, Editor-in-Chief of the Krasnodar-Da! paper

See also:

YABLOKO calls on journalists to visit the Utrish nature reserve that has been threatened with destruction. Press Release, December 8, 2010.

Police detained YABLOKO's activists during an action in defence of the national park. Press Release, December 5, 2010

Protection of Environment

Press Release

December 12, 2010

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