Protest near government building held after reports about possible arrests of activists appear in Penza
Penza, 30 January 2018. PenzaNews. The Left Front activist Yulia Alenkina held a one-person protest opposite the entrance to the building of the Penza region government on the side of Kirova street on Tuesday, January 30, in the morning.
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As soon as the woman unrolled the flag of the movement and the banner reading "Bochkarev talked to people! And Belozertsev arrests them?" a guard appeared on the porch of the building and made some notes in his notebook. None of government officials went out to the protester but some of them watched the rally from windows.
A young man wearing glasses, who refused to introduce himself to a PenzaNews correspondent, approached the activist. According to Left Front supporters the man is a police officer, who appears at campaigns held by the movement either in the uniform or in civilian clothes. He asked the woman what she was going to do there, took a photo of the activist holding the poster and flag by his phone, then entered the government building and watched for a while from a window.
After about 20 minutes two police officers approached Yulia Alenkina. One of them started to shoot the protest by his cell phone camera, while the other asked the woman to show her documents, noted down passport data and inquired about the purpose of the campaign. Then, the police officers left.
As the press secretary of the regional Left Front department Sergei Padalkin told PenzaNews, the campaign was held in connection with unofficial information about upcoming administrative arrests of leaders and activists of the movement in Penza.
"Recently information that the governor of the Penza region Ivan Belozertsev might be involved in possible arrests appeared on one of anonymous Telegram channels," he said.
Sergei Padalkin noted that supporters of the movement are not inclined to trust such sources, that is why they want to hear from the first person whether this is true.
"We will prepare an address to law enforcement authorities because, in fact, the Left Front does not do anything illegal. The problems we raise are social issues like help to deceived construction investors, state of healthcare, our medicine, that is why it is not clear why authorities react in such a way if it does correspond to what is stated on the Internet," the interlocutor explained.
He specified that the text of the poster points to different approaches to the dialogue of the former head of the region Vasily Bochkarev and the current one – Ivan Belozertsev.
"The previous governor was never afraid of talking to the opposition. There was always an opportunity to call him, to meet him, and he also called when some critical publications about him emerged. He gave orders to ministers and other officials to sort out if some articles pointed to a real problem. Unfortunately, today's governor uses other methods," he added.
Sergei Padalkin noted that he, in particular, is not aware of any reaction of the government to the Left Front proposal to solve the issue of construction investors, which consisted in creation of a state company following the example of the Regional Agro-Industrial Holding that could purchase assets of Penzastroi and finish the construction of the houses at the expense of budget.
"Instead of gathering the investors and Left Front representatives, discussing the suggestions, explaining why we are wrong if we actually are, the authorities start to accuse us that we are politicizing the process through the media they control.
The protest lasted approximately from 8.00 to 8.45 and finished without incidents.