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YABLOKOs leader detained by police and transported to court

Press Release
May 8, 2011

Today, on May 8, YABLOKOs leader Sergei Mitrokhin and a group of party activists joined the group of environmentalists who have been trying to protect Khimki forest from cutting.

YABLOKOs activists have been in the environmentalists camp all these days trying to stop cutting of the woods. On May 6 unidentified young men attacked the camp and injured Suren Gazaryan who came to Khimki from the Krasnodar Area so that to support the environmentalists in the Moscow region.

On May 8 environmentalists, YABLOKOs activists and local citizens conducted a peaceful rally, however, the riot police (OMON) broke the rally and detained over 20 people, including YABLOKOs leader Sergei Mitrokhin, head of Movement in Defence of Khimki Forest Eugenia Chirikova, Yaroslav Nikitenko, Sergei Udaltsov and leader of the Klin branch of YABLOKO Yuri Samsonov.


When Sergei Mitrokhin arrived to the site, he saw the police were beating people and pushing them into the police coach. He asked the police why they were detaining and beating people, but instead of an answer there was a command to detain Mitrokhin. Mitrokhin was detained by five OMON policemen who twisted his arms wrenching one arm. Then he was pushed into the police coach with 20 other detained activists.

It is interesting to note that a man (who was not wearing police uniform and was presumably representing the local administration) was giving orders to police. Another person was video recording the detention. When the latter was asked who he was and whether he was a bandit, he replied that he was a bandit.

Most likely Sergei Mitrokhin and the activists will be incriminated disobeying the police which envisaged up to 15 days of arrest. The witness invited by police during search of the detained was drunk.

YABLOKO warned head of the police department Igor Sheruimov that he was disrupting a memorial action of a federal party on a verge of Victory Day, as YABLOKO had to lay flowers to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on the same day at 4 p.m.

I assess the actions of the police a purposeful provocation of the Khimki district authorities on the verge of Victory Day, Mitrokhin said.

Now Sergei Mitrokhin and the activists are in the court waiting for a trial.

See also:

Protection of Environment

Fight to preserve Russian forest turns violent. By William J. Dobson. The Washington Post, May 9, 2011.

Clashes, Camp Attacks Occur As Battle Over Russia's Khimki Forest Heats Up. Radio Free Europe, May 6, 2011. Video, Photos.



Press Release
May 8, 2011

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