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Protest Leader In Yekaterinburg Says He Was Assaulted While His Home Was Searched

Yekaterinburg activist Yaroslav Shirshikov (file photo)
Yekaterinburg activist Yaroslav Shirshikov (file photo)

YEKATERINBURG, Russia -- A leader of mass rallies in the Russian Urals city of Yekaterinburg says he was attacked while his home was being searched by police and Federal Security Service (FSB) officers.

Yaroslav Shirshikov wrote in a Facebook post dated August 9 that several masked individuals forced their way into his apartment in the morning and assaulted and strangled him during the search.

Shirshikov added that the FSB and police officers confiscated his computer.

Police have not commented on Shirshikov's claims.

Shirshikov was one of the leaders of mass protests in May against building an Orthodox church in a city park in Yekaterinburg. The protests ended when local authorities decided to scrap plans to build the church there.

During the protest campaign, police arrested almost 100 people. Of those arrested, 33 were sentenced to jail terms ranging from two days to 15 days.

In late June, local police in Yekaterinburg launched an investigation into the unsanctioned demonstrations, calling the protests "mass disturbances."

In July, Shirshikov was charged with libel and issuing public calls for "mass disturbances."