Left-Wing Groups Protest on Field of Mars
Published: March 12, 2014 (Issue # 1801)
More than 800 people took part in Peace Without Annexations, an anti-war rally organized by left-wing groups on the Field of Mars Mar. 8. Although the spontaneous, unauthorized rally held on Mar. 2 — the day after Russia’s Federation Council approved the use of military force in Ukraine — was marred by attacks and invective from groups supporting the measure as well as approximately 40 arrests, the number of provocations were few on Saturday.
Related: Anti-War Protest Leads to Arrests, Violence
Only a single incident occurred on Saturday, when an assailant tried to snatch the microphone from the hands of Legislative Assembly deputy Irina Komolova as she was speaking. This is in contrast to a number of attacks on Mar. 2 by men dressed in Cossak-style clothing and the right-wing Legislative Assembly member Vitaly Milonov and his supporters.
During the assault, the attacker reportedly pushed Komolova from behind while hurling insults. The attacker and the three people who restrained him were all held in a police vehicle on site for an hour before being released.
City Hall authorized the left-wing anti-war rally scheduled for noon, but declined to grant permission for a liberal rally that deputy Maxim Reznik — who founded the St. Petersburg Anti-War Committee with RPR-Parnas local co-chairman Andrei Pivovarov — had previously announced would be held on 2 p.m. the same day.
Related: Leningrad Blockade Survivor Arrested, Fined For Anti-War Protest
As a result, the organizers of the authorised rally invited the Anti-War Committee to join their protest. Reznik did not show up at the rally but deputy Olga Galkina, who is also a member of the committee, spoke at the event. Like Reznik, Galkina was expelled from Yabloko democratic party in 2012 and belongs to a group of ex-Yabloko members who identify themselves as supporters of the Civil Platform party.
Deputy Alexei Etmanov of the Leningrad Oblast Legislative Assembly, best known as the leader of the trade union at the local Ford assembly plant, spoke at the rally.
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