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Car-Tax Case Prompts Hunger Strike In Russia's Far East


VLADIVOSTOK, Russia -- Activists in the Russian Far Eastern city of Vladivostok have launched a hunger strike over the imprisonment of an organizer of protests against increased taxes on imported cars, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

The activists, who belong to the organization Tiger, on December 12 protested the government's decision to raise the prices for gasoline and taxes for imported cars.

Police forcibly ended the protest and arrested Aleksandr Samsonov, who is an aide to Vladivostok city council member Anatoly Dolgachev.

Dolgachev and Tiger activist Artem Samsonov began the hunger strike in the city's central square, in front of the governor's residence.

They say they decided to hunger-strike after learning that Samsonov was found guilty of violent resistance to police and sentenced to 10 days in jail.

Dolgachev told RFE/RL that Vladivostok officials had sanctioned the protest organized by Tiger and Communist Party members on Saturday, which is Constitution Day in Russia.

But he said police blocked the path of demonstrators and forcibly broke it up.

Dolgachev said police beat him and other organizers of the protest.

He says he sent letters to the regional Prosecutor-General's Office and the local office of the Interior Ministry asking for an investigation into police actions.

Dolgachev said he will end the hunger strike only when Samsonov is released from jail.
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