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30 injured in clashes between police and concertgoers at Moscow rap festival

Source: Meduza

Police have opened an investigation after clashes broke out between law enforcement officers and attendees of the Hip-Hop Mayday festival in Moscow, REN-TV reported.

The festival took place on May 1 in the Russian capital’s Luzhniki stadium. Because entry to the event was free, the crowd attending was much larger than organizers anticipated. Eyewitnesses told the independent television channel Dozhd that Russian National Guard members began blocking parts of the path to the stage during the concert, and by the end of the event, they were using clubs and electric batons to move audience members away from barricades in the stadium.

Attendees said that a small number of “unreasonable” festivalgoers responded to the National Guard’s actions by throwing slabs of building materials at law enforcement officers, who then began applying force at random and targeting some people who had not participated in the conflict at all. One concertgoer noted that police officers “pushed through the crowd” on horses to try to catch up with one of the instigators. “It felt more like an opposition protest than a holiday concert,” one eyewitness told Mediazona.

The popular Telegram channel Baza wrote that 18 people were hospitalized after the incident, most of whom were between 13 and 16 years old. The most common injuries among them were dislocated joints and broken arms, legs, or fingers. Baza estimated the total number of those injured at more than 30 people. REN-TV added that two police officers and four National Guard members were also hurt.

The Moscow branch of Russia’s Internal Affairs Ministry had not issued any official comments on the clashes at the time of this writing.

Grigory Levchenko

Translation by Hilah Kohen