Ukraine: Eight arrests at oligarch’s London mansion after balcony protest

A demonstration at a mansion linked to Vladimir Putin ally Oleg Deripaska has ended with eight arrests, police said.

Protesters occupied the balcony of 5 Belgrave Square, in central London, about midnight, and stayed most of the day, despite police efforts to remove them.

The squatters said they were reclaiming the property for Ukrainian refugees.

Just before 20:00 GMT the Met tweeted the protests were over and that eight people had been arrested in total.

A spokesman said four were arrested inside the building, and four more outside.

Police said they have searched the property and are satisfied there is no-one left inside, although a presence will be kept at the scene overnight.

Billionaire energy tycoon Mr Deripaska is one of the oligarchs sanctioned by the UK government following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Met police make arrests close to the building in Belgravia, central London

A Met Police spokesman said four arrests were made about 18:00 GMT, for trespass, after protesters had tried to climb the back of the building, which is the Romanian consulate.

Earlier in the day riot police had entered and searched the property but found nobody inside.

Four people remained on the balcony, despite police negotiators’ attempts to talk them down, and the spokesman said they would be monitored overnight.

The group called themselves the London Makhnovists, after the Ukrainian anarchist Nestor Makhno, who revolted against the Russian White Army in 1918-21.

There are links between Russian political donors and the war in Ukraine, the protesters claimed

Standing on the balcony, one of the protesters told journalists they were doing the government’s work for them by reclaiming the building for refugees fleeing their homes.

He said: “[Home secretary] Priti Patel, don’t worry, we did your job – we did the housing, just send them here, we did the housing. Refugees welcome!

“We’re demanding this property belong to Ukrainian refugees. Their houses have been destroyed and this guy [Deripaska] supported the war.”

The group said there were about 200 rooms in the “ridiculous” mansion, which was “filthy fancy” and had “so much stuff a normal human being would never need”, including a home cinema and works of art.

 

The post Ukraine: Eight arrests at oligarch’s London mansion after balcony protest appeared first on KBC.

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