PW: Protest rally forcibly broken up in Grozny
- June 2nd 2004 · Prague Watchdog
Protest rally forcibly broken up in Grozny
Timur Aliyev, North Caucasus - A rally of 200 Chechen women protesting
the disapperance of relatives was forcibly dispersed in the center of
The women gathered alongside the building of the Moscow-backed Chechen
government demanding to know the whereabouts of their relatives. The
rally was initiated by Kheda Saratova, a local human rights defender who
two days earlier told a local television station that she got hold of a
list of 1,500 people who had been arrested during mopping-up operations
in Chechnya and hauled off to Russian prisons.
Saratova called on all women seeking information about their relatives
to congregate in Grozny on June 2, near the building of the local
So the women heeded the call and showed up there today, some even
arriving in rented buses from outlying villages. Those who failed to
find their relatives names on the list, which had been posted on the TV
station’s door, moved to the entrance to the government compound.
Because the women were denied entry, they formed a small protest group
next to the entrance and began demanding to be given information about
their loved ones.
A senior police officer came by and asked them to disperse otherwise
they would be forcibly removed. He even warned one of the women, "I
remember you and I’ll square accounts with you later!"
According to the women, Security Council Secretary Rudnik Dudayev then
ordered the security guards to break up the protest, adding "all of
these women are mothers of bandits."
In response, the women stormed through the check-points of the
government compound where they were met with volleys of bullets being
shot into the air. The guards began to beat them with the butts of their
sub-machine guns so the women had no choice but to flee the scene.