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Antifascist March Takes Place in Petersburg

Yesterday in Petersburg the fourth March against Hatred took place. The event is in memory of slain scientist Nikolay Girenko. This time solidarity with the marchers was expressed in person by members of the international human rights group, Amnesty International. At the rally they spoke about how Russia shouldnt be a country with the disgraceful stigma of a place that is dangerous for foreign students and tourists. Around one and a half thousand people came to the fourth annual March against Hatred held in honour of Nikolay Girenko last Sunday, the birthday of the murdered scientist. The event has never been forbidden by the city authorities, but a big group of police and Special Forces (OMON) always accompany the marchers. As per usual, the group of marchers gathered in the recreation centre Yubilaeniy, made their way down Dobrolyubovo Prospekt, past Kunskamera, where the famous social anthropologist, Nikolay Girenko, worked and then went on to Sakharova Square near the University of Petersburg. Opposing politicians, well-known human rights activists, youth from Antifa, anarchists, and representatives of youth labour groups all took part in the march. Also, representatives from organizations such as Soldiers Mothers, A City without Nazism, The Free Radicals, and Memorial all came. Unexpectedly, when they got to Yubilaeniy the marchers came upon 200 official representatives of United Russia who had taken out their blue and white banners with the party name and its symbol, the bear, written across them. The representatives said that they were in agreement with the requirements of the activists to stop xenophobic attitudes in society and to forbid xenophobic literature. The organizers of the march decided to let them join the march, but with the stipulation that they couldnt bring the political symbols with them. The party members obediently took down their banners, removed their badges, and joined the tail end of the march in a separate group at Sakharova Square. The United Russia members simply laid flowers at the Sakharova monument and departed. However, the march was not without incident: a young man took out a yellow and black imperialist flag and shouted, Glory to Russia! and went on to invite people to the Russian March on the fourth of November. The police quickly went after the young man but he put away his flag and ran away. We should remember that The March against Hate is in memory of the scientist/social anthropologist Nikolay Girenko, who was considered an expert in extremism. The scientist was killed on the threshold of his apartment on the 19th of June 2004. According to the law enforcement bodies, his murder was committed by members of the extremist group, Borovikova-Voyevodina, who were all convicted and sentenced to various prison terms. The scientist held the post of chairman of the commission of the rights of National Minorities in the Petersburg Union of Scientists and was the leader of the project The Public Campaign against Xenophobia, Racism, Ethnic Discrimination, and Anti-Semitism in the Russian Federation. In 2002 Nikolay Girenko was considered an expert in the trial for the murder of an Azerbaijani woman called Mamyedova, and he was also an expert in the trial of several members of the extremist, nationalist group Schultz - 88 in St. Petersburg in 2004. As one of the marchs human rights activists, Alexander Vinnichenko, told us, The March against Hate this year has gained international recognition. Amnesty International expressed their solidarity with the marchers in person. As tradition dictated, the marchers expressed their unhappiness that hatred is still prevalent not just in Petersburg but throughout the whole country. We have a shameful brand burnt into our country as of a place that is unsafe for foreign students, tourists, and workers. This brand is already apparent, and it is necessary that we be ashamed of it not just for us but for future generations, the say in the document.

Source: Newspaper: Novi Isvestni



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