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Governor of Russia's second city tells police to check cases of rights violation

St Petersburg, 16 April: On 16 April at a meeting with the heads of law enforcement agencies, St Petersburg governor Valentina Matviyenko instructed them to look thoroughly into all the appeals of citizens' rights violations during the mass events on 15 April on Pionerskaya Ploshchad [square], the city administration press service told Interfax.

"The governor demanded that measures be taken within the existing law if the facts were confirmed. Matviyenko has specifically stressed the need to protect the rights of journalists carrying out their duty. She instructed that every case of violations of journalists' rights be considered thoroughly and reported to her," the press service said.

Earlier, St Petersburg's Main Interior Directorate assessed the opposition Dissenters' March that took part in the city on Sunday [15 April] as numerically insignificant and informed that 120 of its participants had been detained.

"On Sunday some 500 people gathered on Pionerskaya Ploshchad for an authorized rally. After the rally was over, a group of approximately 150 people, despite numerous warnings, made an attempt to stage an unauthorized march and tried to break the police cordon," a source in the directorate said.

According to the directorate official, "within a short amount of time the attempt was stopped and 120 violators of public order were arrested". They were taken to territorial police stations, where reports of administrative violations were written.

"Several violators will face court hearings and be made to pay fines," the source said.