Comments of the NN Committee Against Torture concerning another “march of the dissenters” in Nizhny Novgorod


28 April 2007

Today, activists of several non-governmental organizations have hold a public rally entitled as another “march of the dissenters”. Although it was not exactly a march but a meeting. It had been planned to be hold in a square in order not to bar public transport and pedestrians. The organizers tried to make no inconveniences to citizens during the working day.

    Still the administration of the city banned the rally again. So the peaceful meeting turned to be a disturbance of peace. And police were again entrusted to suppress the protesters which tried to exercise their rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

   Around midday a small group of two dozen people which had gathered in the square (there were much more reporters) began crying out slogans “Russia without Putin”, “We need other Russia”, We’ll get Nizhny Novgorod back”. Then they hoisted a black-and-yellow-and-white flag and lightened torches and fireworks.

    A police woman announced through a megaphone that the rally was unauthorized and its participants were disturbers of the peace. Then the reporters, covering the event, were asked to move away from the protestors. The press service of the Central Department of Internal Affairs (GUVD) had given easy-to-tell badges “Press” to the reporters in advance.

    In a minute special police force (OMON) began the detention. The policemen had to exert physical force in respect of two activists which openly defied. Some time later all the protestors were put in a police bus.

    Citizens which did not take part in the rally and representatives of the media were not detained. The detention was very careful and selective.

    After the bus with the arrested had left, there appeared two organizers of the event – Stanislav Dmitrievsky and Ilya Shamazov. They were at once encircled by the press. Mr. Dmitryevsky started a press-conference in the open air.

      Police rounded up the event. But seeing that the speakers did not disturb the peace, they did not stop interfere with the interview of Stanislav and Ilya. After a short interview Mr. Dmitrievsky and Mr. Shamazov left.

    Experts of the NN Committee Against Torture which had been witnessing the event from the very beginning believe that police were doing their duties and lawfully suppressed the banned rally. They adequately used physical force during the lawful detention of the participants.

    P.S:   An hour later, after the rally had been over, we met with Stanislav Dmitrievsky and Ilya Shamazov near the Nizhegorodsky District Police Station (RUVD), where the arrested (10 activists) had been brought to. The both told us that they had no complaints against the actions of police.   

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Video from the rally

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