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Hundreds of Yekaterinburg residents knock down police barriers and occupy square to protest planned cathedral construction

Yekaterinburg residents have taken to the streets to protest plans to replace one of the city’s squares with a new cathedral, Yekaterinburg Online reported.

The protest began at 7:00 PM local time. Journalists reporting from the site of the demonstration told Meduza that about 2,000 people gathered around the square. According to Yekaterinburg Online, the protesters formed a human chain around the fence closing off the area and then knocked the fence down together. People poured onto the square and began to demand that Yekaterinburg mayor Alexander Vysokinsky make an appearance. They also began setting up tents to spend the night occupying the area. wrote that several hundred people entered the square, surrounded a Russian National Guard tent set up to protect the construction site, and began dancing around the tent in circles, chanting, “We’re for the square!”

Plans to build a new cathedral on the square next to Yekaterinburg’s Sverdlovsk Academic Drama Theater sparked protests and counterdemonstrations as early as March. After barriers were set up around the square on the morning of May 13, one activist who tore them down was arrested, cited, and released before the mass protest began.

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