Construction worker who Putin promised to help is detained night before President's annual live broadcast

10:24, 14 april 2016

Anton Tyurishev, the Pacific Bridge-Building Company employee who asked Vladimir Putin for help on live TV during the 2015 Direct Line Q&A broadcast with the Russian President, has been locked up the night before the President's 2016 live broadcast, reports Novaya Gazeta.

An acquaintance of Tyurishev's, Dmitry Karpan, says Anton Tyurishev was arrested the night of April 13. He believes Tyurishev is being detained at a prison facility in Ussuriisk (a town just north of Vladivostok). The period of his detention is supposedly five days.

Police arrested Tyurishev for allegedly using foul language in a public place, says Karpan.

Tyurishev has since confirmed his arrest to a Novaya Gazeta correspondent via text message. Tyurishev says he is prepared to go on a hunger strike.

In mid March, Pacific Bridge-Building Company employees told the newspaper Kommersant they were planning to stage a protest for President Putin's 2016 Direct Line live broadcast.

During last year's broadcast, Anton Tyurishev had asked Putin to help him and his fellow Pacific Bridge-Building Company workers. They had not been paid for months and had staged several protests throughout the year. Putin promised Tyurishev that he would bring the situation under his personal control.

Since that promise, which was broadcast across Russia, the Pacific Bridge-Building Company has gone bankrupt. Anton Tyurishev and his fellow workers remain unpaid. As of March 2016, they are still waiting on 117 million rubles (about $1,765,000) in wages.

In preparation for the unpaid employees' 2016 Direct Line live protest, Tyurishev was allegedly called to the local police station. The police told Tyurishev they just wanted to inform him about some of Russia's protest laws. Once Tyurishev arrived at the station, however, the police issued him a court summons for “using foul language in a public place” and immediately took him to court, says Karpan.