Police reportedly use tear gas against Yekaterinburg residents protesting planned cathedral construction
Update: News reports have indicated that gas was released by groups of unidentified young men who arrived on the scene of the protest, not by law enforcement officers.
URA.ru and MBK Media reported that police officers deployed tear gas against protesters in Yekaterinburg. Around 2,000 people had reportedly gathered around a city square on the evening of May 13 to voice their objections to plans for a cathedral to be built in place of the square. Together, the protesters pulled down fencing around the square and seemed prepared to occupy it overnight.
Reports of tear gas deployment on the scene have yet to be confirmed. Unlike other reporters on the scene, correspondents for Znak.com said they did not see any tear gas. Other journalists posted a video and reported that groups of young men were arriving at the square and beating or threatening protesters while police officers stood by.
OMON [special police] officers behaved relatively brutally, shouting expletives at people and breaking down their tents. “They started pushing people out of the construction site in crowds. Everything was pushed together. People were screaming,” the agent’s representative said.