“People were detained when they came out to decorate their yard.”
In the evening of December 10th, locals from the partnership of owners “Pushkinskoe’’ gathered in their yard on Olshevsky street to decorate the place for Christmas. As they were putting the decorations, two black minibuses with presumably police officers in black arrived and detained 6 men, whom they promised to let go after a talk. The men were not set free. Moreover, on December 11th the detainees were sentenced to between 10 and 25 days of imprisonment.
The locals tell that on December 10th they gathered in the yard between 1A and 1B buildings on Olshevsky street as they usually do to have tea, and this time they decided to decorate the place with some tinsel, garlands, and Christmas tree branches. There were about 15–20 people there. They mentioned several times that the tinsel was of multiple colors and the garland was only white.
“When we have tea in the yard, we never have any protest symbols, because riot police arrived for our first gathering here in autumn. One person in the police uniform came to us asking what we were doing. He looked over our table, made sure we did not have any alcohol or symbols and said: “You can gather in your yard and do whatever you want as long as you do not have protest symbols or slogans,” tells Mikhail, a local.
According to his words, people gathered in the yard several times afterwards. On December 10th right after the men put out a garland, military forces appeared in the yard — about 15 people came out of a minibus parked nearby, some of the locals decided to run away, some of them stayed.
“People in the black uniform neither introduced themselves nor said they were police. They just told us: “Follow us, we will explain everything to you later”. They took several random men and put them in the minibuses calmly, nobody was resisting, the men went quietly,” tells Mikhail. So, the people in black took 6 men with them.
After that the neighbours ran to the local police station which was right across the street.
Darya is one of those who were near the police station. She says that at first the military men said that they would just talk to the detained and would let them go. However, having waited for 3 hours in front of the police station, the relatives and neighbours of the detainees learned that the detained men would be taken to Okrestina detention center. There was no other information.
“The detainees are all good people: they are businessmen, entrepreneurs, one of them is a father of 2 small children, another one has recently undergone a surgery and should hence stay at home,” says Darya, a local woman who was decorating the yard together with the others.
According to Darya, while they were standing near the police station they noticed that the same minibus arrived in some time and delivered 4 more men.
“Later on we got to know that people were detained on Kazimirovsky street for the same reason. Their women came to the police station later and told us almost the same story as the one we had: the men were detained for just being outside. We believe that it was some kind of a raid.”
Darya says that today they learnt the detainees were tried. One of the men was convicted under 2 articles: 23.34 of Administrative code (Violation of the organization order or mass events organization) and 23.4 (Disobedience to the lawful order or requirement of an official at service), as a result he was sentenced to 20 days in prison.
Two of the other men got 12 days, one got 10 days, another one got 14 days. The sixth detainee got 25 days of imprisonment.