Hundreds of people turned out today for a solidarity demo organised by a coalition of London groups in aid of Russian anti-fascists who have been facing a brutal wave of repression by the Kremlin — which saw four new arrests occur earlier today.
One attendee at the march, which ended at the famous Cable Street mural dedicated to the London East End’s defeat of Oswald Mosely’s blackshirts in 1936, said the turnout was “fantastic” with a “sombre but intense energy.” It was followed by a fundraising gig at DIY Space for London.
Ahead of the march Plan C put out a statement on the situation in Russia over the last two years, noting:
The repression began in autumn 2017 when six anti-fascists were arrested in Penza and had weapons and explosives planted on them. The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) tortured the anti-fascists in the pre-trial detention facility by electrocuting them, beating them and hanging them upside down. While torturing them, security chiefs forced the activists to memorise the testimony the FSB wanted them to give: that they were part of a fictional terrorist group called ‘The Network’.
Two more anti-fascists were arrested in St Petersburg at the end of January 2018 and were also beaten, electrocuted and forced to incriminate themselves by saying they were members of ‘The Network’. A third person was accused in St. Petersburg and two more from Penza have also been arrested for supposed involvement in this make-believe organisation. The FSB claims that the detainees planned to arrange explosions during the presidential elections and the World Cup to “further destabilise the political situation in the country”.
After knowledge of the fabricated court cases and horrific torture became widespread, solidarity actions started to take place, but this led to more repression. Some Russian activists who took part were detained, electrocuted and had criminal proceedings started against them– just for expressing solidarity.
This repression of anti-fascists comes at a time when the Russian state are working with gangs of far-right thugs to repress the whole of civil society.
The ongoing nature of the repression was highlighted in Russia itself today after four people were detained in Moscow at an anti-fascist protest. Russian left site Socialist News reported this evening:
Nikolay Kretov, Igor Yasin, Dmitry Borisenko and Mikhail Komrakov, who were detained on the Anti-Fascist march on January 19th, will spend two nights in the Arbat Department of Internal Affairs on Monday.
The police at first illegally detained them on a tip from the provocateur, then punished them with depriving freedom. On Sunday at 1pm a picket will begin at the Arbat Department of Internal Affairs against this outrage.
Around a dozen organisations have been involved in the callout, including the Anarchist Federation, Anarchist Communist Group, Brazilian Women Against Fascism, Feminist Fightback and various anti-fascist groups based in London, Brighton and Bristol.
The event comes at the same time as the launch in London of a new Anti-Fascist Assembly, which is aiming to co-ordinate “a militant response to the rising tide of fascism in the city.” The event, to be held on February 10th, aims to draw in a wide range of of organisations, collectives, campaigns and trade unions. Organisers can be contacted via [email protected]
Pics courtesy of Plan C and Anton Karliner
For more information on the ‘Network’ case, see https://rupression.com/en/