Police in Moscow forcibly blocked seventeen young activists of the Other Russia coalition in a rented apartment on Klenovy Boulevard in the morning of 6 May 2008, on the eve of the presidential handover in the Kremlin.
The police first claimed that the young people were suspected of a murder that had allegedly been committed in the area. However, the activists refused to open the door to the apartment, given that the police had no search warrant.
The police detained one of the residents in the apartment, Nikolay Avdyushenkov, who went out to buy groceries. He is now being held at Moscow’s Kolomenskoye police station without charges.
The police has cut the electricity to the apartment and covered the peephole on the door. In addition, the police smashed the window using an iron hook that they swung from the roof of the building.
The activists managed to hang a banner reading “Freedom!” out of the window for a brief while. They threw out flyers stating that “Medvedev is not Russia’s legitimate president!” and “False Dimitry, out of the Kremlin!”.
The police is now trying to coax the young activists to come out, promising that they would only be taken to administrative custody “until the holidays are over”. There is no longer any talk about them being suspected of a murder.
The young activists refuse to submit as they have not broken any administrative regulations by sharing a rented apartment. They have asked for support from Moscow-based human rights defenders and lawyers. They fear that the police will use force as soon as journalists covering the standoff leave.
The police is now bringing the owner of the apartment to the scene and is telling the activists holed inside that they have to open the door to the owner. The activists are asking human rights defenders to come to the scene and request legal assistance.
In the meantime, ten people, mostly members of the Vanguard of Red Youth (AKM) movement, held an unsanctioned anti-Medvedev rally at the headquarters of the United Russia party.
The demonstrators chanted slogans like “Freedom to political prisoners!” and “No to the usurpation of power!” One of the protesters chained himself to the party headquarters’ entrance. Police detained some of the demonstators.