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(en) Russia: Mardi gras against G8 in Moscow

Date Wed, 8 Mar 2006 14:18:00 +0100 (CET)

In ancient Russia Mardi gras was celebrated 5th of March, one of the
rituals was burning of a puppet symbolizing winter, all misfortune and
misery that had happened during the past year. Moscow activists decided to
follow tradition, and to leave winter by burning a puppet symbolizing G8,
which is one of the main instruments of neoliberal policies keeping
majority of the people on earth in poverty and misery. Goal of the action
was to call attention of the public to global problems, which also touch
Russian realities. Monetarization of social benefits, hikes in cost of
municipal services, privatization of the education and transformation of
the country to a nuclear dump are all aspects of the neoliberal policies
of the G8.

5th of March, Around 2:50 PM some 40 people in carnival costumes and
masks, drums and a container-load of blini showed up in Novopushkinskaya
square. In tradition of Food Not Bombs, blini (Russian pancakes) were
distributed free. Leaflets against G8, on Food Not Bombs and against war
in Chechnya were distributed. Besides Food Not Bombs, unaligned anarchists
and people from Rainbow Keepers and Autonomous Action were involved.

Already one and half hours before action, three busloads of OMON appeared
in place to where activists had invited journalists. First of the buses
made it to action 3PM, but they attacked Food Not Bombs only twenty
minutes later, when all blini were already distributed to needy. OMON
began grabbing people and beat up one girl. Alltogether 12 people got
arrested and slapped with misdemeanor charges, they were freed until 8 PM
the same evening. In police station, arrested met with another group of
arrested young people, who had planned to party Mardi gras by burning a
puppet representing their boss - OMON had mistakenly arrested them as

Day before, there was an action day against reform of municipal services
around Russia (planned reform means radical hikes to energy and water
bills). According to Russian Indymedia, in Yaroslavl, 3000-5000 people
blockaded traffic in center of the whole city, in Voronezh there was a
fight with OMON and FSB, 15 people got arrested. There were also
confrontations in Ulyanovsk, Yekaterinburg and Krasnoyarsk.

Some photos from Moscow action are available in

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