Eight arrested over protest at mansion linked to Russian oligarch — Analysis
London squatters tried to occupy this building in an act of solidarity with Ukrainians
Late Monday night, eight police officers announced that protesters who had held a London home belonging to Oleg Deripaska were now free.
“They have taken the four protestors from Belgrave Square to Belgrave Square W1 down and arrested them. Police will be present at the scene.,” Westminster Police tweetedOn Monday night, four additional people were arrested for trying to break the police cordon and gain entry into the building.
The two earlier detained people were among the four arrested. They tried to get into the row of buildings that hosts a demonstration in Belgrave Square.
— MPS Westminster (@MPSWestminster) March 14, 2022
A group of Ukrainian squatters entered the property at 1 am on Monday morning to protest the Russian attack in Ukraine. They told journalists they were doing the government’s work and reclaiming the “It’s ridiculous” and “Filthy fancy” mansion for Ukrainian refugees, while hanging banners with threats and insults towards Russian officials from the balcony.
“This property must be given to Ukrainian refugees.,” one of the protesters told journalists while on the balcony.
The police cordoned the area and attempted to remove the protesters, who called themselves ‘London Makhnovists,’ after Ukrainian anarchist Nestor Makhno, with a crane. Initial negotiations were rebuffed by the group, but later on that night, the protesters came down and were detained.
Oleg deripaska is the founder and CEO of Rusal aluminum, as well its parent En+ Group. The British government sanctioned him along with several Russian oligarchs over the conflict in Ukraine, despite his objection to it and pleas for peace.
According to his spokeswoman, Larisa Belyaeva, the house belonged to members of the Deripaska family, who expressed concern over the incident and “The neglect of the UK’s justice system”.
Moscow attacked its neighbor in late February, following a seven-year standoff over Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics in Donetsk and Lugansk. French and German-brokered protocols were intended to normalize those areas within Ukraine’s state.
Russia demanded Ukraine be declared neutral by the United States and refuse to join NATO. Kiev claims that the Russian invasion was unprovoked. It also denies any plans to take the republics with force.
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