Response to brutal attacks on Russian activists

Austria

CWI reporters, Vienna

On the 16 August 2010, members of the SLP (Sozialistische Linkspartei - CWI Austria) handed in a protest declaration to the Russian embassy over recent attacks on environmentalist activists in Russian. The letter stated: “We protest against the attacks against the environmentalists while the Russian government tolerated this!”

We, the SLP, were shocked when we heard of the repression and attacks against environmentalists and the behaviour of Russian government. While forest fires caused fear to the people of Moscow, the Russian government supports the French Vinci-company, which is cutting down forests that act as an important green belt for Moscow.

Last week, we saw brutal attacks against three environmentalists. A group of 15 thugs (at least one armed with baseball bat) injured the three. One of the three, Igor Yasin, was injured hardly, with a skull fracture.

Eye witnesses reported that the thugs were dressed like football fans, as were the group that attacked an environmentalists’ camp in the Khimkinskii Forest, last week, while the police stood by. Scores of protesters showing solidarity with the Khimkinskii camp were arrested in St. Petersburg and in Moscow.

Our protest outside the Russian Embassy was against the Russian government allowing attacks on the living conditions of Moscow’s population but also because the government appears to tolerate attacks against peaceful protesters by thugs. We will not stop reporting about this scandal in Austria and campaigning to end it.

We demand:

- Stop the persecution of protesters and anti-fascists

- End the destruction of the Russian forests and green belts carried out in the interests of big business and the ruling elite.

Belgium

Geert Cool, CWI Belgium

On Wednesday 18 August, about 50 people demonstrated in Brussels in front of the financial services of the French multinational company, Vinci. We protested over recent repression against environmentalist and anti-fascist activists in Moscow. The protest was in front of a small financial office of Vinci; an office that is mainly used to profit from the fiscal advantages that Belgium is offering to multinationals. While workers are asked to suffer consequences of the capitalist crisis and the cuts, multinationals are still being offered fiscal gifts by the government.

The action was organised by the Active Left Students and the anti-fascist campaign, Blokbuster. We were joined by a delegation of the unemployed committee of the FGTB (socialist trade union federation) in the city of Verviers, a group from the LCR, a group of environmentalist activists called Vélorution and a delegation that earlier had protested in front of the nearby Danish embassy following the repressive measures against the demonstrators in Copenhagen, last December. A representative of Vinci came down to accept our letter, promising he would inform management in Paris about the protest.

Other photos of the Brussels protest can be found at: http://socialisme.be/lsp/archief/2010/08/19/foto.html

Ireland

Richard O’Hara, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland)

Members of the Socialist Party in Ireland held a protest outside the Russian Embassy in Dublin, last Monday, in response to the growing persecution of environmentalists, human rights activists, trade unionists and peaceful protesters in Russia. A major French construction company, Vinci, supported by the Russian government is in the process of cutting down a section of the Khimkinskii Forest, part of Moscow’s green belt, to facilitate the building of a major new road. Following a peaceful protest in the centre of Moscow against this environmental destruction, a group of 15 thugs viciously assaulted three members of the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI), hospitalising two of them and seriously injuring one.

Attacks and serious infringements upon the rights of peaceful protesters in Russia are becoming increasingly and depressingly frequent, and this incident comes shortly after police stood by and tolerated the violent destruction by fascist thugs of an environmentalist protest camp in the Khimkinskii Forest. The lack of action by the Russian police shows the willingness of the Russian authorities to let the far-right intimidate and assault protesters to serve their own ends. A letter of protest on behalf of the Socialist Party making clear our opposition to these actions was handed to an embassy official by Joe Higgins MEP.

The Socialist Party stands in solidarity with our Russian comrades in the CWI in calling for an end to the persecution of protesters and anti-fascists; the use by the state and big business of violent thugs against peaceful protesters and the destruction of Russia’s forests and green belts in the interests of big business and the elite.

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