Solidarity with Russian Eco-Antifa activists
In recent days, the battle to stop the destruction of the forest in the Moscow suburb of Khimki has heated up. Activists have been protesting the building of an $8 million high speed toll highway between Moscow and Petersburg. This highway would destroy beautiful forestland around Moscow. Environmentalists say the highway can bypass the old oak forest.
The flashpoint has been in the city which is called Khimki, right outside Moscow. There is a history of violence sponsored by the local authorities in this town. In the most famous case of political terrorism, in November 2008, Mikhail Beketov, outspoken editor-in-chief of the regional «Khimkinskaya Pravda» (Khimki Truth) newspaper, was savagely beaten in front of his home. The attack was clearly related to his criticism of local authorities and the highway being built. As a result of his injuries one of his legs was amputated, and head traumas he suffered during the attack have left him unable to speak. Current reports on his condition indicate that his second leg may have to be amputated.
Khimki authorities thus have a reputation for dealing brutally with anybody who dares oppose them.
Direct actions started on July 14, when the logging was to begin. Eco-activists set up an action camp in Khimki to take direct action against the deforestation. They have used blockades on the train lines leading to the logging site.
On July 23, at about 5AM, the protestors and two journalists were attacked and beaten by a gang of several dozen thugs with white T-shirts masking their faces. From all indications, this was an organized group of neofascists, wearing such symbols on their shirts. The police arrived and started arresting the activists, not the attackers, which indicated that this was an attack carried out in coordination with the police. Security guards hired by the firm carrying out the destruction also took part.
15 people were arrested at that time. Later in the day, the police arrived again, taking away dozens of people.
When some activists tried to protest in front of the White House in Moscow against this highway being built and the forest being illegally destroyed, they were also immediately arrested.
On July 28, a large group, (most say 400-500 people), marched on Khimki. A part of them (70-100 people), attacked the local administration building. This is shown on the video below.
Our friends have been illegally arrested
In the morning of July, 29 antifascist Alexei Gaskarov was called in for a conversation to the local Internal Affairs Department. From there he was passed on to Extremism Department officers and taken away in the unknown destination. Most of the regulations of the law that determines the operation policy for the police have been violated. No relatives have been informed, no notice has been served to state the fact of the arrest. That very evening antifascist Maxim Solopov has been called in for a conversation by Okhotny Ryad metro station after the “Russian News Service” radio broadcast. Maxim has come to the meeting spot but no conversation has taken place. He was handed into a car and brought to Khimki. At night flats of Gaskarov and Solopov have been searched. Alexei Gaskarov’s flat was searched with no warrant and due papers being provided, without assets being listed and with no attesting witness.
We clearly understand why this were Alexei and Maxim who got arrested. They are well known in public and are taking responsibility for being publicly open. They never concealed their views, appeared both in press and on the radio. They got arrested being the only antifascists well known to the police. Now the police is under pressure from the administration of the president, that’s why at least someone needed to be arrested.
As Alexei’s and Maxim’s faces are known to the police and mass media this would have been too stupid of them to take part in violent actions.
We clearly understand that to ask for the guys to be released is to cry for the moon no matter how hard we long for it. We appeal for the legitimacy although this institution in our country is being defied by the guardians of law themselves. We demand that the legal procedure against our friends is not turned into demonstrative judicatory. We urge that mass media is allowed access to the procedure. We demand that your laws are being observed by yourselves.
We know that the truth is ours and we will break through.
On July, 31 the first closed judicial session took place in Khimki. Nobody was allowed in. The building was surrounded by bunches of riot police officers, water cannon trucks with also a number of ambulances and police cars around. After 48 hours of the guys being detained, the charge should have been brought against Alexei and Maxim today but they still haven’t been accused and the judicial session has been postponed until Tuesday, August, 3 being qualified by the judge as a “tough” one.
It has also come to light that their protocols state that the guys were detained on the crime site which contravenes to the original police statement which read that no one was arrested after the incident. This gives evidence that the cases are being invented.
We’re disturbed by the way the procedures are progressing and would appreciate any international support.
Now the funds are being raised for the lawyers and your help would be critical here.
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