A protester whose beating by a riot police officer at an anti-Putin rally last week caused a public outcry after the Communist Party claimed “she” was a pregnant woman was in fact a man, a Moscow tabloid claims.
Video footage of the incident, which shows the helmeted riot policeman kicking the woman in the stomach as she was being dragged along the street during the May 6 March of Millions rally on the eve of Vladimir Putin’s presidential inauguration, spread virally over the Internet.
The Communist Party claimed the woman, who has not been identified, was pregnant.
But the Moskovstky Komsomolets paper said on Saturday its photographer had taken a picture in the early stages of the downtown Moscow demonstration of a hooded man who appears to be “the very same person who is shown being kicked by the OMON officer in the clip.”
The Investigative Committe said on Friday the officer had been charged over the beating.
More than 400 people were detained and dozens injured in the worst violence in the city since anti-Putin protests began in December.
Prominent rights defender Oleg Orlov hailed the decision to prosecute the officer. He also said there were many other documented cases of apparent police brutality at the rally.
Mikhail Fedorov, head of the Kremlin’s rights council, also welcomed the decision and called for a broader investigation into the clashes.