Thursday, July 27, 2006

safe and sound

Back in the uk in kind of one piece.
That is to say I think my brain and all other significant analytical functioning capabiliites I once had are still stuck hovering somewhere over central europe in somekind of moscow-berlin orbit.
Which is probably as well as I've returned to high scale, full on family drama of the full engagement but the less emotional capacity the better type..
I am going to attempt over the next while to try and write some kind of analysis of what we did, what we learnt etc..
Hopefully in time for the ef gathering but who knows as well have to agree content cross continentally..
besos m

Saturday, July 22, 2006

funny little note

to say. it turns out that when they let me into the police station that night they thought i was the british consul.. god only knows why.... probably my attitude?

will post some photos shortly..
in berlin now. damn hot here.

leaving in the morning

Getting on a plane today back to europe.
went to big post mortem yesterday and people said loads of stuff some of it good some of it bad.
overall at least now loads of people here have some organisational experience and theres a network and...
well.. the legal situation is still chaotic, some people arent out yet..
Chucked all my money and the shrapnel that remained of medic funds at legal/future medic group.
Want to say that everyone here is incredibly brave and wonderful i almost dont want to leave..
Theyre all legendary. especially the translator.
and hey that boy in amsterdam.. we havent got yr number... we miss you. youre amazing..
will write real pm maybe sometime and upload some random photos..
xxm

Friday, July 21, 2006

Amsterdam blues

So I guess we're all getting stocked up on sleep....I bugged out of the Russian Fed about two days ago, leaving M & A to fend for themselves through psycho drivers and cute grrls by the truckload. Though Amsterdam is not without its charms.
I pretty much agree with M's take on things, and I think it would rock if the former ussr got it's own corps of medics. Probably need to do more trainings tho.
Anyway just want to add my own thanks to all you beautiful supportive people out there, who helped make our job so much more bearable. Cheers - you are all wonderful.
anyway will get going now - need to figure how to get the rest of the way home on approx. 3 euros...hell of a time to run out of money...but anyway it's all good - it's not like I'm in the Russian fed anymore ;)


love, rage and sleep
xxG

moscow meltdown

so.. moscow has everything.. beer, cute grrls insane traffic, fine art. what more does a girl need? there are even cute girls too. that was supposed to say boys but in a weird freudian slip kinda way i wrote girls.. you can tell where my head is at. but there are boys.
weve been doing a post everything post mortem and figure we did kinda ok.
theres gona be a medic collecitve in the former soviet union now.. theyve got loadsa kit, some experience and they all rock...
we have loads of contacts all over and may do yet more training and train trainers..
about ? 500 hundred arrests overall.. mostly out now.. major repression before and some now but nothing like the horror story we were preparing for..
and.. well this is my take. need to sit down with G and A and be coherent..
but have had much sleep. will get more.
love you all for your fantastic support. any of those of you who called here can be sure you saved some people some nasty experiences ... the cops even said so..
xxm

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

made it back

in one piece to moscow despite crazy crazy roads and no sleep hallucinating while at wheel. and usual traffic cop scenario..
post properly later

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

the morning after

We've just collected some internationals from the police station.. they're tired but all fine..
They've all been treated ok by the standards of russia in that they've only been denied food, water and the use of the toilet periodically.
After we visited them last night the cops refused to allow people to go to the toilet and were generally as obstructive as possible.?
There's been so much pressure internationally, by which I mean that people have been calling the police stations from all over the world, and so the russian cops have been a little freaked out.
The internationals were able to do things that affected the treatment of russians in custody also which we think was a very positive thing, it's very unusual to be able to visit in a police station here and the police were clearly scared of the level of attention.
There are still some people in custody who will hopefully be let out tomorrow..
We are still concerned about the belorussian man, who has now been located, but seems to have wandered out of the hospital unnoticed. This may be a big problem considering that he was reportedly very disorientated when last seen. As we have said before - this is something that people die of in custody in western countries, let alone here, and so we are worried, but frustratingly unable to do anything about it.
so were about to head back to moscow. were going to leave our public medic phone and whatever resources we can with the legal team here.
We will also be forwarding any funds we get donated from here on in to the legal team

late night news at 3am

Unbelievably we've just managed at one in the morning to get into a police station here.. where there were 6 internationals all of whom had clothes and had been fed by their consuls bringing stuff in.. none of them were injured at all.
Having said that they said they were noticably worse for wear, sleeping on newspaper with no blankets and visibly fragile.
We brought them sheets and blankets and ironically the police decided to use one of our sheets as a backdrop to take pictures of them..
According to the people in jail - 3 of the welsh anarchos and 3 germans no one they have been detained with has been seriously injured as far as they are aware..
The police didnt really want to let us give them bedding but i just did my usual thing of wearing a stethoscope and totally ignoring them which works well as they dont speak english and I'm fairly bossy.
Apparently theyre all being released tomorrow morning at 9am and will have 24hrs to leave the country..
So now well go and pick them up in .. less than 6 hrs
going to go to sleep asap.. have to drive to moscow tomorrow night.

(and were driving around St Petersburg really late at night and all the bridges are up so were having to drive some insanely tortuous route and all other drivers are pissed and doing 140km/h) We have no idea of the speed limit but the fine's only 100 roubles..
bizarrely there are still cyclists with no lights.. man thats hardcore..
Apparently there are now only around 35 people left in jail... alot of whom will be released tomorrow or the next day. However the quality of information available is by no means reliable due to the lack of resources and the russian police attitude.
We still havent found our belorussian with head injuries but we will.
tired but the beer is good.
x M&G (A is sleeping sweetly)

Monday, July 17, 2006

outside the court

We are outside the court now where 9 internationals are currently being sentenced, I say this because its unlikely that they will be found not guilty as a day after their alleged offences they are being tried in a closed court and in some cases their consular representatives have not been allowed to visit them - This is definitely the case with the Germans but Im waiting to speak to the british consul to clarify the situation and maybe apply some leverage.
(just done this.. no joy.. explain later)

4 british
3 germans
1 dutch
1 polish
It sounds as though they are going to be sent to the federal immigration service.. we know nothing about this and the russians we were with didnt either except that it is bad.
Whether this means they will be directly deported or given 48 hours to leave the country remains unclear.
Some of them are still with out food and water despite the efforts of even consular officials. (Specifically one german woman who the consular representative wasnt allowed to see). there may well be others although we are trying to get into all the police stations with food water etc. Unbelivably we're the only people with transport except possibly indymedia who appear to be otherwise engaged.
We remain concerned about the belorussian man with head injuries and at least 2 other people are in custody with injuries :they were seen being dragged into the police vans. we are almost certain they will recieve little or no medical care inside as people dont even have beds to sleep in, or in some cases clothes to wear.


Ps. we caused a bomb scare yesterday ... this is funny.. due to our lack of sleep and the general high level of stress we left a rucksack containing a laptop cable IV fluids and suturing kit as well as a bunch of stuff under a table in a cafe..
We waltzed off to our next drama and realised 3 hours later...
As ever the legendary translator rescued the situation by remembering where this might have happened, tracking down the right cop shop - they had to come in and securely remove it, and then smiling sweetly enough to persuade them to give it back. We lost a sphygg and a glucometer, presumably to the cops.. but how lucky can you get?
xxm

exhaustion

So .. we should update you all, but we're a little wiped out.
Things here were kind of a washout from a medic perspective.. This is a good thing in that it seems almost no one that we know about was seriously injured. All the actions that happened in a disparate way across the city seem to have just resulted in immediate arrest. On a mass scale. The police and army have been everywhere, literally blanketing St petersburg and all its transport links, not to mention the level of repression elsewhere in russia.

As to whether or not people who are in jail are injured, we don't know.
The legal situation is somewhat chaotic.. one of the legal phones has been smashed up when the guy who was on the end of it was arrested, and there is a dearth of resources in the extreme.

Were driving around now as I write on our way to a police station with food, water, toothbrushes and cigarettes for some people who were arrested. They dont provide these things in police stations in Russia, not until you've been to court and are in jail even if its days, and even then the food leaves a lot to be desired. People are therefore utterly reliant on their friends who may not even know they are there. (and you can only deliver food at certain specified but random hours)
(People are also being denied phonecalls, although some have been able to hang onto their mobile phones which is how information is getting out.


The legal system here is well... insane. People who were arrested yesterday morning were tried and convicted yesterday evening regardless of legal representation, the clear and evident inability to mount a substantial defence within that time frame not something considered significant here. As the British vice consul kept saying frustratedly when I called him.. "this is russia..."

Some people are on hunger strike.. because they want to resist in every possible way..

We are desperately trying to find a belorussian who was taken to hospital with head injuries after being arrested by the police. The judge who knows has refused to tell any of the legal team or a lawyer and when last seen this man was very disorientated and probably had concussion. This is something people frequently die of in police custody in western countries let alone here. He may well be in a hospital but we have called them all and we still cant find him. Im not going to post his name yet but if we dont get news soon then well have no choice

Lots and lots more to tell you and more arrests since I last wrote but no time now to lay them out clearly. Will endeavour to do so later. Am currently writing a database to put all our scraps of information into as paper just doesnt cut it in this situation.

will try to post coherent legal information later xx M, G and A

Sunday, July 16, 2006

medicstastebetter

Hi M has just rung me from outside a courtroom,
People arrested this morning are being tried now in a closed court. They have been walking off buses which is a good sign, but they also have audio of people who have been beaten in jail and they have been denying people food and water. At the moment M, G and A are ok - Please help by doing what you can to embarrass the russian state
medicstastebetter

continous caffeine

heres that picture

more people are being arrested, the total was 38 people this morning, many internationals included in that
3 from britain
1 - from poland
3 - from germany
1 - netherlands
2 - ukraine
6 - belorussian
1 - moldovan
12 - russian
Again.. this is a situation where their embassies and in partiuclar the russian embassies in the country where you are need to be pressurised to act. The human rights situation here is dire and we already have anecdotal reports that suggest serious violence from the police.
A further 12 people have been arrested on an anti war demo and we have narrowly escaped once today ourselves.
We're off now to cover a large mobilisation, I dont have time to post this on indymedia. please do this somebody?
We will post you from the streets and/or later tonight. Wish us luck cause were needing every ounce of it
xxm

skin of our teeth

Violently happy.. (yes were listening to bjork again)..
We just got away by the skin of our teeth from some over zealous fine hungry fat traffic cops....Heres a picture of one ... he wasnt very happy about it - apparently you're not allowed to take pictures of cops in russia..
We were driving down a major street here and he pulled us over and started giving us some thing about how we'd just made an illegal left turn.. (Along with lots of other people)
And there was no choice but to go to court on the 20th and our car was illegal because its russian MOT ran out a month ago..
and .. and.. so you can imagine G&A got out of the car and did the polite thing and tried a little... and i waited.. and then I figured we needed to have the "im calling my embassy, whats your number and which division of police are you?" conversation.. He wasnt very forthcoming so I took a picture which upset him some but when he thought Id left the situation and was on the phone to my embassy whilst A&G did the polite thing, he caved in a little and let them go. Ihad to return and delete my phone picture and apologise ..
then some agent with big glasses wearing in a truly russian style some kind of interesting earpiece.. sat and watched us trying to be clandestine and conspiratorial. I wish I could give more detail but.. you know how it is..
And its the next morning now.. weve had almost no sleep..
30 plus people just got arrested blockading a delegates hotel - the radisson on nevsky prospect... one guy with a camera just for taking pictures.
If you fancy calling a russian police station we know people are in the 28th police station phone no. +78127642802 and were very scared theyre being beaten up there. we cant go there as we would be arrested but if you call in english and ... say youre very concerned about your relatives who may be there.. or something anything...
They may well be youre relatives, there were lots of internationals in the group.
Were still fine, still at large and loud as ever.
The gods and goddesses are truly on our side, last night we dropped a sim card with 2000 rubles of credit on it which is the only one that allows us dial up web access.. we drove off and left it in the street outside a busy restaurant.. 3 hours later when I went back to look in an emergency final this is never going to happen hopeful way.. there it was...
So it was either divinity or a small brown dog covering my ass as usual..

Well post you later. Were going into the zone as weve started to call it, as theres alot of places and people to try and cover.
Well try if medical support becomes obsolete to run some kind of legal off our medic number as people are being incarcerated in droves.
The sun is still shining though
love and rage
xx M,G and A