May 13, Khoper, Central Russia – participants of a civil peaceful watch camp at Khoper were brutally beaten by the guards of the nickel mining company LLC Mednogorsky Copper and Sulfur Plant.
The locals — civil watch participants, were documenting the law violations by the LLC Mednogorsky Copper and Sulfur Plant (Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company) who have started geological works on these territories. The locals were standing in front of the illegally-installed fence when the private security guards (from a Patrul’ company) opened the gates and beat the activists, pushing away police officers who tried to protect the demonstrators. The guards dragged three activists in, closed the gates and continued to beat them while the police and other locals tried to open the gates. Then they threw over the bodies of the beaten activists over a two-meter metal fence.
One of the locals – Igor Zhitenev, a Cossack chieftain, fell unconscious while being beaten. He is suffering from concussion, broken ribs and a broken jaw, as later stated by paramedics. Other activists have their noses smashed and their teeth broken. The guards used tasers and threw bricks at the activists, inflicting head injuries on two other activists.
The peaceful civil watch began on May 11, 2013 as a bid to fix and document illegal works on the territories earmarked for the further obtrusive nickel mining. The nickel mining company started illegally cutting down trees and installing metal fences with concrete foundations on the agricultural territories. These works were temporary stopped by the activists who called the police. But the regional police prefer not to interfere in the conflict.
On May 13 Cossack Alexander Dolgopyatov started a hunger strike in Novokhopersk against nickel mining in the region. This week other locals plan to join him in the hunger strike.
The striker and the civil watch participants insist on the ban of the toxic nickel mining in these major agricultural Black Earth territories of the Central Russia. The license to mine nickel was awarded to the LLC Mednogorsky Copper and Sulfur Plant without taking into account the damage nickel mining will inflict in these territories, which are home to many endangered species, and without any respect to local peoples’ wishes. This amounts to violations of both civil rights and ecological regulations.
VIDEO: Activists beaten by the nickel company guards http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6CD2mDK37qY
For the further updates: http://savekhoper.ru
Background on the issue: http://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/marc-bennetts/nickel-and-dimes