‘Openly provocative’: Russia sends complaint to UK over mannequin protest outside its London embassy
It is reported that the protesters were members of Syria Campaign and Syria Solidarity, UK groups that say the mannequins are symbolic of Russia’s campaign in Syria.
Russia’s embassy said staff and visitors couldn’t enter the building, while police stood by indifferently.
Moscow says it is deeply concerned about the unwillingness of the British Government to ensure the security of Russia’s diplomatic mission in London.
“The security of the Russian diplomatic mission in the UK was compromised. Police officers remained indifferent in the face of the openly provocative and disorderly conduct of the ‘demonstrators,’” the statement reads.
The embassy added that “nuisance callers blocked the Embassy telephone line, rendering it impossible to contact the mission for genuine callers.”
Russia is not surprised by the protest, however, seeing how UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has encouraged demonstrations outside the embassy.
“It’s worth mentioning that today’s manifestation near the Embassy has been accompanied by an ongoing anti-Russian campaign in the media inspired by some statements of the British officials".
“We are concerned with the unwillingness of the British authorities to provide proper protection for the embassy,” Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to the UK told RT, “The protestors were allowed physically close to the entrance by the British authorities. That was a first.”
According to Yakovenko, the protest had been “planned,” as “a few weeks ago Boris Johnson called for a demonstration here [at the embassy].”
“We are facing an intensive anti-Russian campaign from the media, and there has been a call from the British minister [Johnson] to physically block the embassy, which is totally unacceptable for us.”
The British Foreign Office (FCO) denied that the government was in any way involved in organizing the protest, saying that such allegations “are wholly without foundation.”
“We understand from the police that a small, peaceful protest took place outside the Russian Embassy yesterday afternoon. Diplomatic Police were in place throughout, remaining in close contact with Russian Embassy staff. No arrests were made,” a spokesperson for the FCO said in a statement.
“The reality is that Russian and Syrian regime actions are inflicting widespread suffering on the people of Syria, and the UK public remain severely concerned,” the statement said.
The FCO said it will respond to the Russian complaint in due course.
According to former British diplomat Craig Murray, the UK’s foreign secretary has been encouraging protests and indulging Cold War rhetoric.
“The UK … has decided to up the rhetoric up to the levels of the Cold War rhetoric. The fact that the Foreign Secretary is indulging in that is extremely sad,” he said.
The UK-based Syria Solidarity group describes itself as “a network of activists committed to solidarity with the Syrian Revolution.” It says that it supports “the popular revolution against the Assad regime.”
“We are critical of the countries who provide material support to the Assad regime,” the group says.
The other group that took part in the protest, Syria Campaign, calls itself “a global advocacy group” whose mission is “to mobilize people around the world to advocate to protect Syrian civilians.”
On its official website, the Syria Campaign voices its support for the White Helmets, a Western-funded volunteer civil defense group that operates in Syria. While officially its mission is to offer first aid to bombing victims, Syrian and Russian authorities have accused the White Helmets of spreading anti-government propaganda and maintaining close ties with Islamist rebels.
In October of this year, the Russian Defense Ministry accused the White Helmets of faking digital images of a bombing of a school in Idlib, Syria. Earlier, the White Helmets’ chief liaison officer acknowledged to RT that his organization, which claims to be “non-governmental” and “neutral,” receives funding and equipment from several Western states, including the US, the UK, and Germany.