A lively protest was held at the Russian embassy in London last night (Thursday) to demand the release of democratic and left activists currently in Russian gaols, and an end to state repression. In attendance were Russian human rights campaigners from the group Speak Up! and student supporters of Pussy Riot from Goldsmiths college, as well as members of Socialist Resistance and Counterfire.
Chants, in English and Russian, included: ‘Free the political prisoners!’, ‘Free Pussy Riot!’, ‘Russia without Putin!’ (it sounds better in Russian). Protestors were informed that the picket was backed by film director Ken Loach and Labour MP John McDonnell, among others.
People from different organisations felt that there was real potential for future joint activity. Watch this space! If you are interested in helping to set up a campaign in solidarity with the detained activists, join the Facebook page or contact email@example.com
This event marked the first of four days of international protest.
– In Sri Lanka last night, a broadly backed protest letter was handed into the Russian Embassy. See here for more details.
– In Geneva tomorrow (December 1), there will be a protest at the Russian Commission to the UN, attended by the Mayor of Geneva.
– Noam Chomsky is heading a list of signatories to an international protest letter with (so far) mainly French- and Swiss- based signatories.
In his message of support for Vladimir Akimenkov, Michael Kosenko, Stepan Zimin and Nikolai Kavkazskii Ken Loach said:
“The continued oppressive treatment of dissidents makes a mockery of the pretence that Putin’s Russia is a tolerant and democratic country. I support the call for the immediate release of those imprisoned for political engagement. The true patriots are those who fight to end injustice and oppression in their homeland”
– More news on other actions soon.