Russia probes beating of woman protester

11th May 2012, Comments 0 comments

Russia on Friday opened a criminal probe into the beating of a female protester by riot police after a video of the incident during a mass rally ahead of Vladimir Putin's inauguration sparked outrage.

Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said the probe would try to establish "the authors of the video posted on the Internet and also the specific police officers who used violence against the girl."

The amateur video, which has been viewed more than 200,000 times on YouTube, shows a riot policeman kicking a female protester in the lower abdomen as she is dragged along the ground by his colleagues, to shocked reaction in the crowd.

On Thursday, Russia's Communist Party posted the video on its website and its parliamentary deputies called for an investigation.

The incident occurred on Sunday when tens of thousands joined a sanctioned opposition rally called the March of Millions which ended in violent confrontations between protesters and police.

Moscow police said that more than 30 officers were wounded in the scuffles and more than 400 protesters detained.

Russia is also investigating the protesters for mass insubordination and using force against police and on Thursday investigators spent hours questioning two of the movement's leaders, Alexei Navalny and Sergei Udaltsov.

They face up to 10 years if convicted of causing bodily harm to officers and a shorter term if found guilty of insubordination calls.

Navalny's lawyer, a charismatic lawyer and whistle-blowing blogger who has refused to rule out one day running for president, said his client was only questioned as a witness in the case.

Both are currently in police detention serving 15-day terms for a different unsanctioned protest.

The video of the police beating can be viewed at:

© 2012 AFP

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