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08 aug 2012 



On the morning of 15th August there was a  show of support for the punk group Pussy Riot in front of the Cathedral  of Christ the Savior in Moscow.  Eighteen people in different colored  masks lined up in front of the cathedral, holding plaques of letters  that spelled out the words "Blessed are the merciful".
Eyewitnesses  reported via Twitter that after a few minutes there were people in civilian clothes - presumably security guards - at the entrance to the church, who tried to disperse the protesters.  Some of the protesters were told to "hold up [their] hands".  Bloggers report that the security guard Potankin was noticed "among the beaten"  - one of the so-called victims of Pussy Riot.  "Wow!  Among the beaten was Potankin - one of the "victims" of Pussy Riot.  He did not go to work for three months.  Now he will not go to work for another three months.", Timur Khorev wrote in his microblog.
There were also reports of attacks on journalists. "Unidentified men in civilian clothes were hitting the hands of the participants. Krylov (New Times), Romensky (Dozhd) and Feldman (Novaya Gazeta) were all attacked outside the cathedral" was posted on Twitter by WakeUpRussia.
"Some people in civilian clothes are beating participants of the demonstration.  Some hooligans attacked the participants outside the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, smashed their cameras, and beat several people. Two of the brutes, who identified themselves as parishioners, detained one of the protesters, breaking his arm", Rustem Adagamov wrote on Twitter.
Police officers arriving on the scene arrested several protesters.  According to Timur Khorev, among those arrested were Alexei Sheryemetev, Evgeniy Feldman, Evgeniy Skvortsov, and Nastya Zinovkina.  However, according to preliminary data, Evgeniy Feldman was released without being charged.  Khorev also said that "the people in civilian clothes," who began to disperse the participants before the arrival of the police, accused those that had gathered of "desecrating the church."  With the words "blessed are the merciful" we have desecrated the church?  Think about what you are saying!" - one blogger quoting the words of one of the supporters of Pussy Riot.
One of the participants of the action said in an interview with the radio station "Kommersant-FM" that Pussy Riot supporters will organize other protest actions as  well and that they will invent new slogans, most probably quotations from the Bible.


"Коммерсантъ FM", 08.15.2012 // 13:20
Interview with protesters
"Blessed are the merciful" - this was the slogan that appeared on 15th August in front of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.  The letters were written on pieces of paper held by 20 or so people in balaclavas.  The demonstration was held in support of the members of Pussy Riot.  Matthew Kryilov, a journalist for The New Times, discusses the details with our anchor, Andrey Norkin.

-- Please tell me how all of this transpired.

--A group of young people wearing balaclavas on their heads came from the back of the cathedral, like the members of the group Pussy Riot, and held plaques - each one of them carrying one letter.  In this way, they spelled out these two words.  The demonstration lasted a minute, if not less.

-- They stood there in silence?

--Yes, in silence, not causing any scandal.  Some people in white shirts ran up to them and began to grab the activists at first, but they quickly ran away.  They managed to catch two or three.  Then they went after the journalists.  They caught Nika Maksimyuk, the photojournalist from "Grani.ru", and attacked Romenskiy, the correspondent from "Dozhd", and hit the camera of Rustem Adagamov.  They just began to grab the journalists.  Evgeniy Feldman from "Novaya Gazeta" was among the victims.  They hit my lens.  There were around 20 of them - they ran around the site of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior cursing and trying to interfere in any way they could.  They pulled Nika Maksimyuk's arm around her back, as tears flowed from her eyes.  I stopped filming, because they tried to stop these people.

-- Matthew, you and your colleagues did not try to explain that you are journalists?

--Of course.  Nearly all of us had press passes around our necks.  I had mine around my neck, and one man tried to tear off the rope.  He tried to tear my press pass off and insulted me, saying we were blasphemers, that we had come to desecrate the church.  Though we said that we were simply fulfilling our professional duty.

--So it turns out that there were more journalists than participants in the demonstration?

--Not entirely.  For example, they knocked one of the protesters down to the asphalt.  He fell on his knees, and they held him there.  He remained on his knees, his head on the asphalt, and wrung his hands behind his back.  And they held him this way for probably 20 minutes until the police arrived.

-- And how did the police behave?

--The police behaved quite adequately.  First, when the police officers arrived, they immediately lifted the young man off the ground, and we showed the police everything that happened on our cameras.  They usually detain the activists, throw up their hands, but they did not even touch them - they just asked them to go over to the car and sit there to write a statement.  They took them to the police station.

--So it turns out that some were detained?

--Yes, I know about two detainees - Alexei Sheryemetev and Alexei Mikheyev.

Russia breaks up Pussy Riot protest outside churchfor Pussy Riot EngPussyRiot, Free Pussy Riot



Russia breaks up Pussy Riot protest outside churchfor Pussy Riot EngPussyRiot, Free Pussy Riot


Russia breaks up Pussy Riot protest outside churchfor Pussy Riot EngPussyRiot, Free Pussy Riot


Russia breaks up Pussy Riot protest outside churchfor Pussy Riot EngPussyRiot, Free Pussy Riot


Russia breaks up Pussy Riot protest outside churchfor Pussy Riot EngPussyRiot, Free Pussy Riot



Russia breaks up Pussy Riot protest outside churchfor Pussy Riot EngPussyRiot, Free Pussy Riot
All photos from Rustem Adagamov
 
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EngPussyRiot - collective of media activists is conducting informational support to the group Pussy Riot in English. Headquartered EngPussyRiot is in Russia, but the project involves people from all over the world. Read more...

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EngPussyRiot - collective of media activists is conducting informational support to the group Pussy Riot in English. Headquartered EngPussyRiot is in Russia, but the project involves people from all over the world. Read more...

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