Russian armed officers disrupt conference (excerpts)
Barnabas Fund, 14 December 2021
Several dozen officers from the Centre for Combating Extremism disrupted a Christian conference near Moscow, on 2 December, wearing bulletproof vests, armed with machine guns and confining attendees in the conference building for around ten hours.
Before being released the majority of attendees were charged with an “administrative offence” – thus violating “the rules and norms” of the Russian Federation – because the Christian ministry that had organised the event had been declared an “undesirable” foreign organisation.
Having entered the building, security officers aimed their guns at the attendees – including women and children – forcing them to lie face down on the floor. Some pastors in attendance were kicked as they lay on the floor, despite offering no resistance, and some sustained injuries.
Anybody who asked the reason for the intrusion was met with the answer “shut up” or “shut your mouth”.
“We, as citizens of Russia, are interested in the legality of our actions. We pray for and bless Russia – we want to serve for the good of our country. But such actions of ‘law enforcement officers’ armed to the teeth undermine the credibility of the authorities in the most monstrous way.
“After all, now, judging by everything that happened, armed people will be able to break into any Christian congregation under the guise of it being an ‘undesirable organisation’ and mock believers, including women and children.”