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Orthodox volunteers detained in Moscow while handing out food to the homeless

Police in Moscow detained several members of an Orthodox volunteer group during the evening of April 23, as they were handing out food to the homeless. The volunteer organization in question, “Kursky Vokzal. Bezdomny, Deti” (“Kursky Railway Station. Homeless, Children”), reported the detentions on its Facebook page.

The volunteers were detained at a park near Moscow’s Kursky Railway Station. “They managed to hand out soup, but as they began pouring tea the police arrived,” the director of the non-profit “Dom Druzei” (“House of Friends”), Lana Zhurkina, told the charity project “Miloserdie.ru”.

On Facebook, Zhurkina noted that there were around 200 people at the park at the time, but they were maintaining social distancing. 

Four volunteers were taken to the police department, where law enforcement drew up administrative protocols against them of violating the self-isolation regime. They released the detainees later that night. Two more people received administrative protocols for parking violations.

The Moscow Police told TASS that the volunteers had violated the high-alert status and had organized a one-time gathering of about 100 people in a public space, which created a risk of coronavirus infection.

The Interior Ministry also claimed that the detainees did not have digital travel permits. The volunteers insisted that they had the necessary volunteer passes.

  • Law enforcement detained participants in the “Food not bombs” rally at Moscow’s Kursky Railway Station on April 12. They were also distributing food to the homeless. 

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