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(en) Anarchist Mayday actions around former Soviet Union

Date Wed, 09 May 2007 10:10:28 +0300

In former Soviet Union, anarchists were once again hitting the streets in Mayday. Below reports of anarchist actions in a number of cities.
Blagoveschensk, Amur region --- Autonomous Action queued Bolshevik Mayday demonstration. They carried a 5-meter banner with text "Freedom, equality, anarcho-communism" and red and black flags, leaflets and paper "Situation" were distributed. Slogans were scanned. When only anarchist orator began his speech on true meaning of Mayday, Bolsheviks asked him to leave. There were no problems with police. --- (Autonomous Action of Blagoveschensk) --- Irkutsk --- In Irkutsk, anarchists joined general demonstration and distributed leaflets, papers "Volnaya Sibir" (Free Siberia), "Liniya Fronta" (Frontline, anarchist skinhead paper made in St. Petersburg) and "Situation" (Paper of Autonomous Action). They had a banner "No one is illegal - working people unite!", and two banners related to anti-nuclear campaign in city of Angarsk nearby - "Angarsk is not a nuclear dump" and "No to a Chernobyl in Baikal". During march, there was a small fight with cops as they attempted to grab someone from the march without any apparent reason, but he was successfully dearrested.

Photos from Irkutsk:


(By AD-Irkutsk)


In Kazan, anarchist events were mainly organised by local anarchist communist group Derzay! (Dare!). Group had an early start, hanging banners with texts "Freedom, equality, fraternity" with encircled a and "Rights are not given, rights are taken!" to different areas of the city. Plenty of graffiti was made as well.

Anarchists visited meetings of KPRF, United Russia and meeting of splinter fraction from KPRF lead by Salikhov - in first two anarchists were just agitating, in third anarchists were participators. Second issue of paper "Derzay!" was distributed. In third meeting anarchists were let to tribute, making their point on the events in Tallinn. Meanwhile police attempted to grab some anarchists, but as participators of the meeting showed solidarity and surrounded police cars, police had to release all arrested.

Photos: http://www.derzaj.ru/news/read/Pervomaj_2007_v_Kazani.html



In Kiev, anarchists joined a common "radical left" demonstration which gathered some 100 people. Convergence point was at Bessarabki around 10:20, at least two buses of OMON were located to the spot. 11 AM colon moved towards Maidan from movie theatre Orbit, accompanied by music from drums, pipes and a mouth-organ. People were scanning "Get out to the streets, reclaim the city!" and "World is not for sale - Ukraine is not a product!", "Fascism won't trespass!". Slogans and banners were in both Ukrainian and Russian languages.

A number of speeches were made, one of them by anarchist Pyotr Raush from St. Petersburg.



(Report from ukraine.indymedia.org)


In Krasnoyarsk, members of local of Association of Anarchist Movements anarchists unrolled banners "Rights are not given, rights are taken" and black flag. Around 60 leaflets "there is not yet reason for workers to party!" were distributed. They had no any problems with officials.

Photos: http://ru.indymedia.org/newswire/display/16463/index.php

(From ru.indymedia.org)


Last year attempt to join demonstration of pro-Kremlin trade unions was a sorry failure as everyone got arrested, so this time anarchists wanted to do their own thing.

It was decided to have an action in front of supermarket "Severnoe siyanie" (Northern lights), as lots of people are gathering there. Anarchists had to wait at first, and were already about to change plans, as a police car was on guard in front of the magazine. But suddenly cops left somewhere, so anarchist torched a sea torch and each of them raised a cardboard with a letter, which together formed text "PROTIV" (against). Speeches were made and leaflets distributed, which explained meaning of mayday and against what anarchists are demonstrating. Unusually for Magadan, anarchists managed to escape without arrests.

(Autonomous Action of Magadan)


In Minsk, anarchists joined meeting in park of Peoples' Friendship. Meeting was a mixed soup of some thousand Bolsheviks, trade unionists and social democrats. Anarchist group was rather small, mere 20 people. Anarchists were not attempting to have a large mobilisation, differently from Chernobyl Day march few days before which saw a bloc of some 80 anarchists.

Later anarchists dropped two banners near Nemiga metro station, with texts "Down with working slavery" and "Consume, work, die". They were visible for half an hour, until officials removed them.




(Indymedia Belarus)


Around Mayday, Moscow anarchists organised a festival "Red and Black Party", but as there were technical problems with concerts, eventually festival was just a discussion on theme of worker's movement in April 30th, and street actions in Mayday.

Having agitated in yellow and independent trade union events and Bolshevik march in the morning, Moscow anarchists went to have their own demonstrations in afternoon.

Illegal Anarchist march was supposed to go from metro Novokuznetskaya, over Moskva river to Bolotnaya square. However this year cops and FSB made first time a serious effort to prevent anarchist march from the beginning - all yards surrounding metro Novokuznetskaya were swarming cops in marked and unmarked cars, a busload of OMON riot cops was also hidden there. It is unclear if cops had figured out Novokuzneskaya as starting point as journalists were invited to a spot nearby, if they had interrupted communications in closed internet or phone calls, or got information by some other way.

However cops were not outrageous enough to arrest people before beginning, but they took some people "to a walk", which practically hindered them from participating action.

There were a number of tactical lapses, but eventually anarchist managed to launch march few hundred meters away the planned starting point, and no more than 25% of the people were lost in the middle. Thus some 50 anarchists went on marching, with banner "Rights are not given, rights are taken", "No war but class war", "Down with the police state" and "Peace to world".

But in less than five minutes, just when anarchists had began singing of "internationale" and were about to cross Moskva river, police appeared and began grabbing people. They managed to grab just one person and some banners, but after loads of plain clothes police and a busload of OMON had engaged hunt of anarchists in the whole area, their overall harvest was 16 people. This was also something unforeseen - never before during this decade Moscow police has bothered to hunt down participators of actions when it has already been dispersed, as it is rather hard to proof participation unless they have made an arrest on the spot.

During following hours, anarchists surviving arrests, and those who had missed first action due to preventive police measures or tactical errors, gathered in park near metro station Krasnye Vorota in other part of the city. Eventually it was decided to have one more march, from Krasnye Vorota to Kursk train station by small side-streets between Boulevard and Sadovaya ringroads. It was not much people there, but in general centre of Moscow is always empty during Mayday, only in Ohotniy Ryad next to Kremlin there are a bit more people but no action there would last a long time.

Some 45 people were in second march, only one banner ("Peace to people, war to power") had survived first one, but as small streets had nice acoustics and few cars, one could hear shouts "Freedom, equality, anarcho-communism!", "Raise the black flag higher - state is the main enemy!" from far. Two sea torches were lighted as well. Cops were not prepared to this second demonstration, so it finished close to Kursk train station without any incidents.

After second action, anarchists went to support arrested comrades, who were released during the meeting with summons to court for misdemeanour charge of illegal demonstration. A small spontaneous performance was made in police station. In the evening, anarchists also visited Bolotnaya Ploschad, leaving there statues for "prophets of capitalism" - this was original plan for the end of the first action, but due to police measures first demonstrations never made it to the square.


(from first demonstration)



(from second demonstration and other events):


video: http://www.ifolder.ru/1874009 (download)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fFeuLt6S2U (second demonstration)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9s0d_lZZSc (performance in police station)

(by Autonomous Action of Moscow)

Nizhni Novgorod

In Nizhni Novgorod, anarchist skipped usual paper sales and leafleting in Bolshevik events, and preferred to make an action to support a local ecological grassroots initiative instead. In Kovalikhinsk suburb, local inhabitants have already for months protested against planned 4-way bypass road, construction would lead to disappearance of plenty of green areas and a square. Developers are already cutting trees

in area.

Action was formally announced as "gathering of local inhabitants", as such an event does not need any permission. First participators planted trees, then two persons, masked as governor and city mayor, attempted to pull up these planted trees, but eventually were expelled. Eventually participators went to distribute leaflets against upcoming 2007-2008 elections in the city. Unfortunately, besides 30 anarchists and autonomes and a handful of ecological activists, only 6 local activists joined action. They explained, that campaign is already exhausted, as this far it has not reached any results whatsoever, although prosecutor confirmed that developers have made plenty of legal violations.

(by Autonomous Action of Nizhni Novgorod)


Absurd Novosibirsk Mayday "monstration" has already become a tradition, this year 700-800 people were reported to have joined it. Differently from last year, police did not planned to stop march although it broke out from the meeting in end of the common left-wing and trade unionist Mayday demonstration. There are photos

available in






Placates and banners in photos have texts "Are you thinking?", "I do not think anything!", "Pigs are people as well!", "Researchers are our light - but lamps are cheaper!", "I am normal", "I am also not from here", and many others which are too difficult or impossible to translate.

Other placates reported had texts "long live free condoms" and "you will be cured as well". One person was arrested. It was also repeated, that two organisers of the demonstration will be charged with misdemeanour charges.

(information from aforementioned blogs)


Anarchists from Federation of Anarchist Communists went to agitate in KPRF driven meeting. They reported that it is becoming more miserable every year - there were thousands of people in 90's, nowadays just few hundred, surrounded by police from every direction and infiltrated by vast amount of plain clothes officers. And nobody reacted when police for no reason grabbed three young persons from stalinist AKM (Avant-Guard of Red Youth).

After apathetic meeting, anarchist visited city locations connected to history of worker's struggle, related to events of 1902 strike and left flowers.

(Federation of Anarchist Communists - via ru.indymedia.org)

St. Petersburg

In St. Petersburg, anarchists joined the queue of - the ruling "United Russia" party! Apparently this move caught cops by surprise, as they could do nothing when some 20 anarchists marched by their colon, with a 10 meter banner with text "Freedom, anarchy, self-governance", scanning "United Russia is a fascist country!", "Freedom, equality, anarcho-communism!", "Main enemy is in your own country, main enemy sits in Kremlin!", "Rubber bullets and tear gas, present of president to the working masses!", "Raise the black flag higher, state is the main enemy!" and other slogans, burning sea torches. Eventually, when anarchists had already passed whole colon and were leading the march, 3 cops managed to grab the banner and anarchists dispersed without any of them getting arrested.

Other groups of anarchists from Autonomous Action, Confederation of Revolutionary Anarcho-Syndicalists, Association of Anarchist Movements and Punk Revival agitated in Bolshevik and liberal demonstrations. One group went to visit fascist Movement Against Illegal Migration (DPNI) and Slavic Union (SS) meeting with a banner "No One is Illegal". Boneheads had not guts to jump them during their demonstration, but they made attempt to follow and jump their "guests" afterwards but without a special success.

Altogether there were 2 or 3 attempts of Nazis to jump anarchists during Mayday in St. Petersburg - first after 2 PM some 15 boneheads jumped 8 anarchists when they returned from Bolshevik demonstration in corner of Nevskiy prospekt and Fontanki. In another event, 15-20 boneheads jumped 5 SHARP in Zagorodniy street. No-one was seriously hurt in either of the events, and as boneheads outnumbered anarchists 2-4 to 1, few broken ribs and teeth and a successful withdrawal from side of the anti-fascists may already be considered as a victory. DPNI took responsibility for first attack, they are all more seldom distancing themselves from the Nazi boneheads.




video - both youtube and .wms:



(Reports from Autonomous Action of St. Petersburg and piter.indymedia.ru)


In Tyumen, anarchists decided not to join Bolshevik march, but they went to leaflet meeting in end of the march and distributed some leaflets and raised black and red and black diagonal flags. Cops grabbed one anarchists, but due to protests of other participants they eventually let him go.

(Autonomous Action of Tyumen)


In Ufa, anarchists made a banner drop 9 AM at street crossing leading to centre of the city, banner had text "1st of May - Down with state and capitalism - avtonom.org". This way anarchists were first to launch Mayday actions in Ufa.

11 AM there was a meeting of yellow, pro-Kremlin trade unions. Anarchist leaflets received both positive and negative reactions. One hour later there was meeting of KPRF (Communist Party of Russian Federation), average age of which was 60 years. Last in series of boring events leafleted was event of "just Russia" party, a new Kremlin political construction as they have a n idea to shift to American system with two parties that have no any difference... "Just Russia" is supposed to be a bit more left-wing than ruling "United Russia", but both they consist of 100% Kremlin loyalists.

Photos from Ufa:


(by Ender/Autonomous Action of Ufa)


Anarchists planned to queue behind march of RKRP (Russian Communist Worker's Party), but this was banned and cops were swarming in the gathering point. As there were only 10 anarchist, it did not made much sense to have a separate march. Eventually anarchists went to join demonstration of KPRF, but tactical manoeuvres failed and both cops and UBOP (Administration of Fight against Organised Crime, a nasty special police force unit) turned attention on anarchists. Soon they attempted to grab anarchists, and caught four with one flag. Arrested were released after three hours, with charges of distributing nationalist propaganda! As usual, cops have been trumping up charges with left hand, perhaps they were drunken. But at least some press was distributed, as each cop wanted a copy.

(Autonomous Action of Vladivostok)


In Voronezh, anarchists were splitted to two sections in March - Voronezh Revolutionary Union of Anarchists (VRSA) was marching in front of the KPRF-driven march with leftists, whereas "Black Bloc" group was marching in very end of the demonstration. In common radical left bloc there were 30-40 people, numbers of "Black Bloc" sections were not reported. Police attempted to kick black blockers out from the march due to their drums, and there was another failed arresting attempt after march but otherwise everything went without excesses.

(report from anarchvrn.ru via russia.indymedia.org)

(from http://www.avtonom.org/index.php?nid=970)
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