Thursday, January 26, 2012

Teddy Joins Barnaul Siberia Protest

He's a bugger is Teddy, he don't half get about.

When you read the details in these two articles, you know one thing, the establishment have already lost.

Doll 'protesters' present small problem for Russian police

Police in Siberian city ask prosecutors to investigate legality of protest involving display of toy figures holding miniature placards
Miriam Elder in Moscow
26 January 2012

Russian police don't take kindly to opposition protesters – even if they're 5cm high and made of plastic.

Police in the Siberian city of Barnaul have asked prosecutors to investigate the legality of a recent protest that saw dozens of small dolls – teddy bears, Lego men, South Park figurines – arranged to mimic a protest, complete with signs reading: "I'm for clean elections" and "A thief should sit in jail, not in the Kremlin".

"Political opposition forces are using new technologies to carry out public events – using toys with placards at mini-protests," Andrei Mulintsev, the city's deputy police chief, said at a press conference this week, according to local media. "In our opinion, this is still an unsanctioned public event."

Activists set up the display after authorities repeatedly rejected their request to hold a sanctioned demonstration of the kind held in Moscow to protest disputed parliamentary elections results and Vladimir Putin's expected return to the presidency in a March vote.

Passersby admired the display with giggles, but police took it more seriously, examining its details and writing down each placard.

"The authorities' attempt to limit citizens' rights to express their position has become absurd," said Lyudmila Alexandrova, a 26-year-old graduate student and protest organiser. "We wanted to hyperbolise this attempt and show the absurdity and farce of officials' struggle with their own people."

They are not the first. Russia's Blue Buckets group, formed to protest officials' wanton flouting of traffic rules, have run across government cars while wearing buckets on their heads, drawing the state's ire.

Voina, the rebellious art collective, won worldwide fame after painting a 65-metre-long phallus on a drawbridge in St Petersburg that, when erected, faced the city's Federal Security Service (FSB) headquarters. Its members have been repeatedly detained.

The activists in Barnaul say they have no choice but to adopt creative measures. Local authorities have refused to issue approval for opposition protests since 10 December, the first nationwide day of protest in Russia. Around 2,000 people turned out in Barnaul that day, an unprecedented number for the small city.

Police have tried to pressure them into shutting down the doll protests, organisers said. "They tried to tell us our event was illegal – they even said that to put toys in the snow, we had to rent it from the city authorities," Alexandrova said.

All authorities appear to be on high alert, as Russia prepares for its next day of protest on 4 February, one month before a presidential vote that Putin hopes will sweep him back into the Kremlin. On Thursday, the Moscow mayor's office approved the opposition's request to gather up to 50,000 people for a march through part of the city centre.

The jumpiest police were found this week in Kaliningrad, Russia's Baltic exclave. As two dozen nationalist youth took to the streets for a jog designed to promote a healthy lifestyle, carrying their traditional black, yellow and white flag, police descended upon the rally, having confused it for a gay pride parade. Gay rights remain largely unrecognised in Russia, and gay rights rallies are regularly banned. Police questioned the activists before releasing them, local media reported. gruniad

Outdoor market Barnaul Siberia

Siberian Police Crack Down on Toy Rally Organizers
Russian Poll Protests
Maria Kuchma, Moscow
January 26, 2012

Not amused by the creativity of liberal activists in the South Siberian city of Barnaul, police have moved to punish the organizers of toy demonstrations that took place in the city earlier this month in the wake of nationwide election protests.

After two unsanctioned demonstrations against alleged fraud in the December 2011 parliamentary polls were dispersed by Barnaul police, Kinder Surprise, Lego and other toys marched in to campaign for fair elections.

Armed with tiny placards denouncing supposed violations in favor of the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, toy monkeys, bears, sheep and horses “protested” in central Barnaul on January 7 and 14.

“While the authorities restrict our constitutional rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, the rights of toys have so far been untouched,” one of the protest organizers, 30-year-old IT specialist Andrei Teslenko, wrote in a post on Russia’s most popular social network Vkontakte.

But local police believe the law might have been violated as the demonstrations, called “nano meetings” by the initiators, have not been agreed with the authorities.

Noting that the organizers were also present at the events, deputy Barnaul police chief Andrei Mulintsev said he believed those demonstrations were “public events.”

“Somebody has brought the toys there and therefore expressed his opinion in such a way,” Mulintsev told RIA Novosti in a phone interview on Thursday. “People were approaching, looking [at the toys]… There is some kind of publicity in those events, right?”

However, unsure about their own interpretation of the law (“there is no such term as “nano meeting” in the federal legislation regulating public events”), police turned to prosecutors for advice, Mulintsev said.

“There is nothing to discuss,” prosecutor Sergei Kirei told RIA Novosti by phone. “I don’t understand why police decided to consult with us. I believe there are certainly grounds to initiate administrative cases.”

“People are not stupid,” he went on. “The figurines did not come there by themselves. They did not write the placards on their own. They have not invited anyone in social networks to join the public event.”

The toys, he said, were used as “agitation material,” adding that those complaining of legal nihilism during elections have themselves “gravely ignored the law.”

Activist Teslenko described as “absurd” the police move to “launch a trial against toys.” He said “no more than ten people” brought toys to the square in front of Barnaul’s Drama Theatre on January 7, and “no more than 15” joined the action a week later.

“This is again proof of willfulness of the local authorities,” he told RIA Novosti via VKontakte. “I wonder where our nano meetings would feature on the list of meetings that require official sanction.”

“I am certainly not going to plead guilty,” he added.

Kirei said he believed the gathering was a "picket."

“At least one person learned as a result of this that such an event had taken place, and I believe proving that [an unsanctioned public meeting has been held] will not be a problem,” he said.

The toy demonstration organizers face fines of up to $33 or arrest for a period of up to 15 days if found guilty of staging an unsanctioned public gathering and disobeying police orders.


Anonymous said...

something with feathers, good idea!

Anonymous said...

First gay parade Kiev Ukraine cancelled

Anonymous said...

Himself said...

??? Gay bashing?

Himself said...

Ah so! I did the links in the wrong order.

Anonymous said...

Himself said...

Thanks Maren, I shall send it to Tom.

Anonymous said...

Himself said...

Well that will go a long way to solving the global catastrophe that's going on all around us.

Aren't people so fucking stupid.

I shall pass it on.

Anonymous said...

Russian police break up "kiss-in" over anti-gay law.

Himself said...

Hello Chuck, I had my first tester last night, mighty! and as smooth as silk.

Anonymous said...