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Journalists and activists picket Russia's parliament over a lawmaker accused of harassing reporters


Around noon on Thursday, several journalists and activists picketed the State Duma building, demanding an investigation into the sexual harassment allegations against deputy Leonid Slutsky. Amnesty International organized the demonstration, which was slightly upstaged by Ksenia Sobchak, who showed up 30 minutes earlier with camera crews from the state-run TV networks.

While the picketers carried signs reading, “Mr. Volodin, are you afraid to investigate harassment in the Duma? If so, then find a new job!” Sobchak’s banner said merely, “Deputies! We don’t like you.” The camera crews left as soon as Amnesty International’s demonstration got started.

What are these posters about?

On March 7, when asked about sexual harassment allegations by women journalists against deputy Leonid Slutsky, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin advised Duma correspondents to find different work, if they feel unsafe at their jobs. In the same press conference, Volodin wished all the ladies a happy International Women’s Day. BBC reporter Farida Rustamova, who recently came forward with an audio recording of Slutsky harassing her in March 2017, says she now fears for her safety. Four other journalists have come forward (two openly and two anonymously) with similar allegations. When they asked Slutsky to stop groping them, he allegedly refused.

He's oh so sorry

Slutsky took March 8 as an opportunity to “apologize” on Facebook, writing, “I’d like to ask the forgiveness of any of you I’ve ever voluntarily or involuntarily caused distress. Believe me, it wasn’t out of malice.”