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26 Aug, 2007 21:18

Russian motorists protest violations by cops

Cars carrying black flags have been seen throughout Russia, as their owners protest traffic police violations. The organisers of the protest say the police often break their own rules, and sometimes even cause fatal accidents.

When a speeding traffic police car, driving down the wrong side of the road, suddenly appeared in front of Evgeny Grigorovsky, he had two choices – either to crash into it or to try avoiding it. He chose the second option and died instantly as his car smashed into a lamp post. The police car just drove off without stopping, according to eyewitnesses.

Outraged, some have taken to streets in protest.

Roman Lutoshkin saw the crash and the aftermath. He was so shocked that he began campaigning on behalf of Evgeny. He produced leaflets and posters publicising the incident and organised two demonstrations. The first one took place in St. Petersburg, and another one in all big Russian cities.

Their motto is: “traffic rules are the same for everyone”.

At first, the police denied their car was in the streets at the time of the accident, but later changed their tune saying it was in a different part of St. Petersburg.

A criminal investigation has been launched. However, conclusions could become clouded as Evgeny Grigorovsky was a former street-racer and was allegedly speeding at the time of the crash.

During the protest in Moscow, police surrounded demonstrators and bundled them into a van. Some were driven off for questioning.

In St. Petersburg, the car protest turned into a march after the traffic police kept stopping the cars carrying the black flag.

The demonstration may not have gone to plan, but it is unlikely the campaign will end and it won't be the last time there are black flags on the streets of Russia.