Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

A landslide victory for the 'invisible candidate' in Algeria's Presidential polls

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014 (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Presidential adviser resigns over "shoe-shine scandal"

Read more

#THE 51%

Breaking stereotypes

Read more

#TECH 24

Galaxy S5 v. HTC One (M8): Which is the right one for you?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

New PM Manuel Valls outlines priorities

Read more

FASHION

Jean-Marc Loubier, bags and shoes.

Read more

ENCORE!

Hip-hop musician Beat Assailant on mixing the sounds of the city

Read more

  • Bouteflika, the ghost president

    Read more

  • Police arrest S. Korea ferry captain for negligence

    Read more

  • Ukraine separatists say ‘not bound’ by Geneva deal

    Read more

  • Algeria's ailing Bouteflika clinches fourth term amid fraud claims

    Read more

  • Does Valls’ upcoming Vatican trip violate French secularism?

    Read more

  • Obama signs bill to block controversial Iran diplomat from UN post

    Read more

  • Abel Ferrara’s hotly awaited DSK film to premiere on web

    Read more

  • World honours Garcia Marquez’s magical literary legacy

    Read more

  • Ukraine: ‘One bloody incident could scupper Geneva deal’

    Read more

  • Top Hollande adviser resigns over conflict of interest accusation

    Read more

  • Indian election: Votes for sale

    Read more

  • West African Ebola outbreak caused by new strain of virus

    Read more

  • Astronomers discover Earth-like planet that could support life

    Read more

  • Video: Tensions remain high in Mariupol despite Geneva deal

    Read more

  • In Prijedor, survivors fight to keep memory alive

    Read more

  • Deadly avalanche strikes Everest in worst-ever disaster

    Read more

  • With a strong French presence, veterans and fresh faces, Cannes aims to please

    Read more

  • Russia and West agree on steps to ease Ukraine crisis

    Read more

  • Mob launches deadly attack on UN shelter for S. Sudan civilians

    Read more

  • Eurostar train mishap causes 'severe' delays

    Read more

  • Chelsea Clinton announces she's pregnant

    Read more

  • French troops free five aid workers kidnapped in Mali by Islamists

    Read more

  • In pictures: Iranian woman pardons son’s killer at the gallows

    Read more

  • After cup defeat, Spanish pundits read last rites for Barcelona

    Read more

  • India heads to polls in single largest day of voting

    Read more

Europe

Banned opposition rock concert goes ahead in Moscow

©

Video by Kethevane GORJESTANI

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-08-23

A banned rock concert organised by environmental activists and Kremlin-critics went ahead on Sunday evening, drawing a crowd of some 2000 people despite fear of a violent police crackdown.

AFP - Some 2,000 people Sunday crammed into a Moscow square amid a heavy police presence for a banned rock concert to protest plans to build a motorway through a forest outside the Russian capital.

The numbers were far higher than for past opposition rallies in Moscow but the concert failed to get off the ground after police refused to allow amplification gear through tight security, an AFP correspondent at the scene reported.

However, veteran rocker Yuri Shevchuk, who opposed the Soviet regime and now the government of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, pleased his fans by climbing onto a stepladder and singing some well-loved songs without a microphone.

Dozens of police vehicles and members of the feared OMON anti-riot police, equipped with helmets and bullet-proof vests, thronged the square.

The concert's aim was to buttress efforts by environmental activists to oppose the construction of a highway through Khimki forest outside Moscow, which has become a symbol for Russians fighting for their rights.

While the demonstration on Pushkin Square against the construction of the road had been sanctioned by the Moscow authorities, they had explicitly banned the holding of a concert.

The police said there were 800 people at the rally, but AFP estimated the crowd to be around 2,000.

"We came to make beautiful speeches and sing beautiful songs. But we have a problem," Artemi Troitski, one of the organisers, told AFP.

"The sound equipment is in the car over there and the security forces are not allowing it to come on the square."

Several opposition activists were detained ahead of the rally, including prominent campaigner Lev Ponomaryov, officials said.

Another 20 activists, including Mikhail Shneider of opposition movement Solidarnost and ex-government minister Boris Nemtsov, were also detained in an earlier protest as they tried to carry a Russian flag in central Moscow to celebrate the official Flag Day holiday.

The Khimki forest northwest of Moscow is a "symbol of the civic struggle against the arbitrariness of the state", Shevchuk told AFP.

Shevchuk in May had openly challenged Putin telling him at a face-to-face meeting that Russia was being ruled by "dukes and princes with sirens on their cars" and demonstrations are broken up by "repressive" security services.

Shevchuk, one of a number of dissident Soviet rockers who made their names in Saint Petersburg (then Leningrad), sang his famous ballad Rodina (Motherland), whose chorus was up taken by the crowd.

"It is our forest! Russia without Putin!," chanted the crowds. One banner read "Putin allowed the forest to be chopped down." Others shouted, "Give us sound!"

"We are here to sing that they can't destroy our forest, the lungs of Moscow, but also to tell the Kremlin, to tell Putin, we are fed up with them, their system, the lies which serve to fill the pockets of officials," said 32-year-old demonstrator Viktor Kalinovsky.

Authorities have repeatedly used force to disperse anti-government protests in Moscow, even though the country's opposition is weak and fragmented and its protests usually do not attract a lot of sympathisers.

One activist said unknown assailants had even sought to prevent the musical equipment from even reaching the site of the concert rally.

"Several bikers in black outfits and motorcycle helmets, their faces hidden, surrounded two Gazelle trucks carrying sound equipment for the event," Pyotr Verzilov, an activist with art collective Voina, or War, told Echo of Moscow.

The controversy over the road sparked a rare violent protest in July when demonstrators hurled smoke bombs and smashed windows at the local administration building in Khimki.

The Moscow authorities also appear to have been rattled by discontent over the handling of deadly wildfires that raged in the region earlier this summer and the decision of mayor Yuri Luzhkov to stay on holiday outside smog-filled Moscow as the crisis intensified.

Date created : 2010-08-23

  • RUSSIA

    Security forces kill 'Moscow bombings planner' in Dagestan

    Read more

  • DIPLOMACY

    Russia seeks to revive 'Soviet era cooperation' at rare summit

    Read more

  • RUSSIA

    Medvedev asks Russia's billionaires to help rebuild after wildfires

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)