Apatity: Activists fined for visa violations

Russian immigration authorities questioned 12 Finnish and Norwegian participants of an environmentalist protest action in Apatity in Russia’s Kola Peninsula, the Murmansk-based environmentalist organisation, Priroda & Molodyozh reported.

The immigration officials arrived at the tourist resort where the activists were staying at 10 pm on 6 August 2008. They questioned the foreign activists for around six hours. The activists were fined RUR 2,000 (EUR 55) each for violating visa regulations.

The Russia coordinator of the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation, Olli Turunen, found it odd that the authorities had changed their earlier decision not to issue any fines.

Earlier during the day, the foreign activists were taken to be heard by the immigration authorities, Vitaly Servetnik, member of Priroda & Molodyozh, reported. The officials questioned four Norwegian participants out of all twelve (six Norwegians and six Finns) who took part in the protest.

The environmental activists took part in a demonstration against Russian gas giant Gazprom’s and Swiss-based Shtokman Development’s plan to construct a gas pipeline through Khibiny Mountains near Apatity. The protestors demand that the mountains be declared a nature reserve.

The protest was organised by Priroda & Molodyozh together with members of Norway’s Natur & Ungdom, the Finnish Nature League, and the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation. The Finnish activists have now returned to Finland and thanked the Norwegian consulate in Murmansk for its help.

Photos: Protest in Apatity
http://www.pim.org.ru/old/piket-work.html#action_khibiny_060808

Read more:

Finnish, Norwegian activists detained
Finrosforum, 06.08.2008
http://www.finrosforum.fi/?p=1204

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