RUSSIALINK: “Report: 19 injured at opposition rallies, 22 instances of violence against law enforcement recorded” – Interfax

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

MOSCOW. Feb 5 (Interfax) – Nineteen people suffered injuries at rallies on January 23 and January 31, and 22 instances of violence against law enforcement officials were recorded during those events, the Russian Presidential Human Rights Council said.

“The preliminary findings indicate that 19 citizens suffered injuries on January 23 and January 31, including some who were not taking part in demonstrations. At the same time, 22 facts of violence with regard to law enforcement officials have been registered,” the council said in a statement on Friday.

The council urged both participants in mass events and law enforcement officials to strictly abide by the law.

“These demonstrations could not have been cleared because of the pandemic. It should also be pointed out that the choice of venues for the protests on Lubyanka Square and Manezhnaya Square in Moscow was confrontational. Such an approach appears unconstructive and puts people’s safety at risk,” it said.

“Some participants in the unauthorized rallies used violence against citizens with different mottos, the police, and members of the Russian Guard and resorted to unlawful actions,” the council said.

“Journalists and observers have indicated that law enforcement officials used force unwarrantedly. These signals require verification,” it said.

The council members were also concerned about calls on minors to join the protests before the January 23 rally. “The council considers it unacceptable to expose children to danger,” it said.

The council also mentioned irregularities in the treatment of detainees. “Hundreds of detainees spent the night in police vans, buses, and police stations, in premises unfit for sleeping, without any reports drafted, without food, water, or medicine. No lawyers or members of public monitoring commissions were admitted to them,” it said.

“Media reports on the dissemination of calls on Telegram channels for collecting the personal data of law enforcement officials, their family members, and loved ones and making them publicly available are alarming. These serious violations of the right to privacy must be immediately stopped,” the council said.

In this connection, the council proposed providing the conditions to allow journalists to work unhindered at protest demonstrations and introducing some regulations outlining the rights and duties of public monitors at both agreed-upon and unauthorized public events.

“Discussion should be initiated on relaxing the quarantine restrictions regarding public events, including political and unionistic ones,” it said.

As concerns overcrowded detention centers, the council recommended that prosecutors of various levels make official proposals that some administrative arrests ordered by courts be deferred.

“Official inquiries should be opened into all recorded instances of violations of the rights of journalists, participants in protests, and law enforcement officials, and criminal proceedings should be opened, provided there are legal grounds for that. According to our information, such inquiries have already been launched into a number of incidents,” it said.

The council urged all civil society groups “to begin a constructive dialogue with government bodies to put the aforementioned proposals into practice.”

The council will continue work aimed at upholding citizens’ rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, it said.