Activists trying to prevent the demolition of a 19th-century house in central Moscow clashed with security at the site.
According to the protestors, masked guards attacked at least 20 people, among them journalists. Only the arrival of police on the scene managed to stop the brawl in which 15 people were beaten, a TV camera broken and five photo cameras taken apart.
The brawl was caused by the demolition of a historic building in the city center, despite mass protests by locals.
The construction firm is planning to replace the mansion with a seven-story apartment block with an underground parking garage.
“The importance of this building is that it is part of a historic courtyard that has remained almost untouched since the late 19th century,” Elena Tkach, coordinator of the Coalition in Moscow’s Defense, told RT. “We haven’t seen any documents permitting the demolition. The house is owned by a company that, according to our information, doesn’t really have the right to possess it.”
In the last 10 years, over 300 historic building have been demolished in Moscow, among them 50 protected by the state.
The recent audit showed that at least 43 percent of Moscow’s landmark sites are not being looked after properly; out of a total of roughly 4,000 monuments in Moscow, only 593 are fully protected.