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May Day Demonstrators Fined for Displaying Non-Russian Flags

Katrin Nenasheva / Facebook

Activists in St. Petersburg were reportedly been arrested and fined thousands of rubles for waving non-Russian flags, including a rainbow flag.

Police detained and kept overnight 10 participants in the annual Labor Day parade, activists said and the OVD-Info police monitoring website reported Tuesday. Two others had been detained for a rainbow flag and a decaying portrait of President Vladimir Putin, one of the activists said on Facebook.

“We brought British, Israeli, European Union flags, but the organizers of the opposition march said we couldn’t participate with them and called the police,” one of the detained activists, Vsevolod Nelayev, told the Fontanka.ru news website.

Maria Kozhevatova was fined 12,000 rubles ($188) and placed into custody for a week, St. Petersburg opposition deputy Boris Vishnevsky wrote early Thursday morning on social media.

Court documents indicate Kozhevatova was charged and fined for resisting arrest and violating public assembly laws. Vishnevsky said she had been carrying the Yabloko liberal opposition party flag with “an attached blue and yellow patch (which the court regarded as a Ukrainian flag).”

Vadim Charushev, who carried a British flag at the May Day parade, was fined 11,000 rubles ($172) for the same two infractions.

Maxim Razmetov was placed in custody for 27 days on the combined charges, Vishnevsky added. According to the Mediazona news website, Razmetov carried Georgian and EU flags at the demonstration.

“This, in my opinion, is a visual demonstration of a police state. Alas, not the first and most likely not the last,” Vishnevsky observed.

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