16 May 2019 21:50

Opponents of building church in Yekaterinburg hurl smoke charges near Moscow patriarchal residence

MOSCOW. May 16 (Interfax) - Two masked individuals staged a protest against building a church in a square in Yekaterinburg near Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill's Moscow residence on Thursday.

"Two masked individuals unrolled a poster saying 'Apologize for Yekaterinburg' and hurled smoke charges. Their accomplices have recorded this event on a video, all of them got in a car and drove away afterwards," the patriarch's spokesman and a priest, Alexander Volkov, told Interfax.

The action has taken place in Chisty Side-Street, where the patriarch's working residence is situated.

Employees of the Moscow Patriarchate reported this incident to the police, the spokesman said.

A church should unite people, not divide them and in this connection "both sides need to take certain steps for this issue to be resolved in the interests of all those who actually live there," Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a media forum of the All-Russia People's Front on Thursday in reply to a participant's request for comment on the church's construction.

Mass unauthorized protests against building St. Catherine Church in Oktyabrskaya Square in downtown Yekaterinburg, where the square is situated, have been held in Yekaterinburg since May 13. Dozens of protesters have been detained; 102 protocols have been drawn up against 98 people, over the last three days the protests have been taking place. Twenty-one people were arrested for a term of two to ten days.

Putin suggested holding an opinion poll in comments on the situation in Yekaterinburg at a media forum of the All-Russia People's Front.

It was reported later that the Yekaterinburg administration wants to conduct a poll on building the church amid protests.

At the same time, construction works are underway on a site, where a church is planned to be built.