Russian Cops Pitch Tantrum Over 'Toy Protest'

Rubber animals, South Park figures take up cause in Russia
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2012 1:15 AM CST
Russian Cops Pitch Tantrum Over 'Toy Protest'

Don't toy with us, furious Russian officials are warning activists. But that's just what they're doing. Government critics have staged a miniature protest in the Siberian town of Barnaul using tiny Lego men, South Park figurines, and rubber animals holding little placards emblazoned with messages like "I'm for Clean Elections," and "A Thief Should Sit in Jail, not in the Kremlin," the Guardian reports. "Political opposition forces are using new technologies to carry out public events—using toys with placards at mini-protests," said the town's deputy police chief. "In our opinion, this is still an unsanctioned public event."

The toy protest was displayed after demonstrators were denied the right to march against disputed parliamentary election results. Passersby giggled, but cops were grim-faced as they noted down every single protest message the toys were holding. "The authorities' attempt to limit citizens' rights to express their position has become absurd," said one protest organizer. "We wanted to hyperbolize this attempt and show the farce of officials' struggle with their own people. They tried to tell us our event was illegal—they even said that to put toys in the snow, we had to rent it from the city authorities." (More Russia stories.)

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