Russia: attack on former Pussy Riot members in a McDonald's this morning must be investigated

‘By all accounts, this violent attack appears to have been premeditated by an organised group’ - Sergei Nikitin
 
The Russian authorities must promptly launch an independent and impartial investigation into an apparently unprovoked, premeditated attack on two former Pussy Riot members and other human rights activists in the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod this morning.
 
Video footage posted on YouTube (see below) appears to show a group of men barging in and violently interrupting the activists’ meal in a McDonald’s restaurant near the Nizhny Novgorod train station. 
 
The unidentified assailants charged into the restaurant, carrying a sign saying “Dirty whores out of our town”. They appear to attack the activists - including former Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina - with pepper spray, green antiseptic and other projectiles. Following the incident, Tolokonnikova tweeted images of medical records showing she received treatment for eye injuries. Alyokhina reportedly needed stitches and suffered from concussion. 
 
Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina have been arrested several times in recent weeks, including when peacefully protesting outside the “Bolotnaya square” trial in Moscow and during the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. The activists, who were joined by other members of the new prisoners’ rights NGO “Zone of the Rights”, say they were in the city to inspect a local prison colony. 
 
Sergei Nikitin, Director of Amnesty International’s Moscow office, said:
 
“By all accounts, this violent attack appears to have been premeditated by an organised group. The unidentified assailants chanted slogans, held aloft a banner and filmed the entire incident.
 
“The Russian authorities must not tolerate such attacks on peaceful activists. They must launch a prompt, impartial and independent investigation into this and all such incidents, and bring those responsible to justice.”
 
 
 

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