Russian police probed for 'striking activist': official

25th August 2010, Comments 0 comments

Russian investigators Wednesday launched a probe against a policeman after a YouTube video showed him striking an activist at an opposition protest in Saint Petersburg.

"Without sufficient cause, a police officer struck an unidentified male individual at least once in the head with his head with a truncheon," the Saint Petersburg investigative committee said in a statement on its website.

The announcement came after a video of the incident during a protest on July 31 was posted on YouTube showing the policeman insulting the activist.

He was shown swearing at the crowd, after arresting one protestor, and demanding who wanted a beating.

He then roughly grabbed a young activist by the hair and hit him in the face with the butt of his club after the youth was heard telling him: "Don't swear."

The Russian police regularly crack down on demonstrations deemed unsanctioned although the opposition claims the Russian constitution provides for the right to assemble freely and accuses the authorities of using excessive force.

© 2010 AFP

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