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<nettime> 8 days of hunger strike - activists in Petersburg protest the
dmitry vilensky /chto delat?/ on Sat, 6 Jun 2009 23:37:48 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> 8 days of hunger strike - activists in Petersburg protest the arrest of artist Artyom Loskutov


On May 15, the young contemporary *artist Artem Loskutov was arrested*
in his native Novisibirsk and charged with possession of a narcotic
substance (marijuana) by the local branch of the Interior Ministry's
notorious Center for Extremism Prevention (Center "E"). Loskutov and
his supporters claim that the police planted the marijuana in his bag
in order to incriminate him. As one of the organizers of the annual
"Monstration" -- a flash mob street party in which young people march
with absurdist, non-political slogans -- Loskutov had long been an
objection of the Center's attentions. At a pre-trial custody hearing
on May 20, it was revealed that the Center had been tapping the phones
of Loskutov and his friends for the past six months. In April and on
May Day itself, Loskutov had been summoned to the Center for
"discussions," and his parents had been called and told that their son
was a member of a dangerous sect. The circumstances of the case and
the way that he was arrested thus point to a campaign of intimidation
directed both at Loskutov and his fellow "monstrators" in Novosibirsk.

The Loskutov case has sparked a massive outcry in Russia's activist
and art communities. In the past three weeks, artists, activists, and
ordinary concerned citizens all over Russia have carried out a series
of pickets, protests, and actions in Loskutov's defense. The most
inspiring of these actions has been *a "plein air" hunger strike*
organized by several young artists in Petersburg, now in its second
week. The artists encamped themselves in a park next to city hall and
began producing paintings and drawings whose central theme is the
increasingly brutal police repression of social activists and
left-wing artists in Russia. The hunger strikers have issued three
demands. First, they want a criminal investigation of the mass arrests
by riot police of a group of young anarchists on May Day in Petersburg
despite their having obtained official written permission to march
with the other columns of demonstrators. Second, they call for the
creation of a public commission to monitor the work of Center "E."
Finally, they ask that all charges against Artem Loskutov be dropped
and that he be released.

Although the Loskutov case and the Petersburg hunger strike have
become one of the hottest topics in the Russian blogosphere, there has
been a near-total blackout in the mainstream Russian press, especially
television. That is why we ask you to read the article linked below
and learn how you can join our campaign of solidarity with Artem and
his artist comrades in Petersburg. *We have called an international day
of solidarity actions for June 9*, a day before Artem's next hearing in
the Novosibirsk Regional Court.

*An injury to one is an injury to all. Free Artem Loskutov!*

http://chtodelat.wordpress.com/2009/06/04/free-artem-loskutov/

http://www.demotix.com/news/artists-hunger-strike-drags-international-economic-forum-looms
Artists hunger strike drags on as international economic forum looms


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