Witnesses of fire in Vladivostok under investigation
Monday, January 23, 2006
Nearly 300 people turned out at a protest meeting held in Vladivostok, Russia on January 21st. Relatives and friends of the victims and survivors of the recent fire, as well as ordinary citizens were there and full of anger. They had come to protest against the authorities, whom they say mishandled the rescue operation in the terrible fire and have withheld the truth about the real number of dead.
The slogans at the protest read, "Who will tell us the truth?", "We want to know the truth!", "Our lives cost nothing!", "Authorities should respond!", and "Firemen are those who should be set on fire!"
The Chief of Vladivostok City Police Department colonel Nikolay Panchenko commented: "The meeting participants are sure, that the authorities hide a true number of the dead and refer to the web-site fire.zloe.net."
The web-site "Truth about the fire in Vladivostok" has been created to spread information about the fire.
Panchenko said "We verified the published messages, but none of them was confirmed. We have detected the two authors of the messages. One of them has already denied everything he wrote, another is still hiding out".
Today, a news agency in Vladivostok, which maintains another web-site where information about the fire is collected, reports they received an official order from the government services. Additional private information about people who post comments on news.vl.ru has been requested.
Some human rights experts warn that the witnesses may be persecuted in a situation where the authorities want to hide the truth, and thus to escape responsibility.
- "Vladivostok fire witnesses dispute official death toll of nine, claim at least 50" — Wikinews, January 23, 2006
- "Government services are interested in comments on News.Vl.ru" — , January 23, 2006
- Dmitriy Klimov. "Spontaneous meeting in Vladivostok" — , January 21, 2006
- A website "Truth about the fire in Vladivostok" (in Russian)
- A web-site "Vladivostok News" (in Russian)