Hundreds of people gather in support of Mikhail Khodorkovsky
Monday, May 16, 2005
As the court was announcing the final decision on the fate of Russia's petroleum king, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, hundreds of people gathered near the court house to voice their opinion on the matter. A rally was supported by several Russian political parties and groups, including Union of Right Forces, Yabloko, Oborona, Pora!, Smena and others.
Among the people who attended the meeting were Garry Kasparov and Irina Khakamada. The total number of participants, according to officials is estimated at 700 people. The involved parties claim around 1000.
The crowd was standing in front of the court house, waving flags of political groups mentioned above and chanting political slogans aimed at the allegedly unfair trial and at the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. Among the chants were:
- "Svobodu!" (Freedom [to Khodorkovsky]) - listen
- "Misha go home" (Misha being the short form of Mikhail)
- "One, two, three, Putin go away"
- "Doloi vlast chekistov" (Down with the Chekists' authority, referring to Putin's KGB past) - listen
Some cars passing by expressed their solidarity with the crowds by sound signalling, which crowd appreciated with louder chanting. Some activists rode passing by trams and trolleybuses, waving "Freedom to MBKh" tees and flags from the windows.
The meeting lasted for two hours, until police ordered the crowds to go away when their permit expired. Many refused, and the militia had to resort to force. 20-30 people were arrested, including some organizers.
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- "Police Detain Dozens of Khodorkovsky Supporters" — , May 16, 2005