Mysterious gang of brutal thugs attacks festival-goers
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Amateur video footage shows an unknown gang of thugs viciously attacking a crowd of about 3,000 people at a punk rock festival in central Russia. Authorities have accused a local café owner of organising the attack, but our Observer questions this official version, calling it "ridiculous". Read more...
Amateur video footage shows an unknown gang of thugs viciously attacking a crowd of about 3,000 people at a punk rock festival in central Russia. Authorities have accused a local restaurant owner of organising the attack, but our Observer questions this official version, calling it "ridiculous".
A gang of 50 to 100 men arrived at the "Tornado" punk rock festival in a field outside the town of Miass (1,400 kilometres east of Moscow), at around 7 pm on Sunday, August 29. According to eyewitnesses, they got out of their cars, took off their shirts, armed themselves with baseball bats and traumatic pistols [guns loaded with small rubber bullets sold in Russia for self-defence purposes] and randomly began attacking festival goers. Scores of people were hurt, and at least 6 were hospitalised with serious injuries.
The motives behind the attack remain unclear, although three versions have circulated in Russian newspapers. Police arrested the owner of a kebab restaurant near the festival grounds, and charged him with organising the attack to take revenge on a group of festival-goers who got rowdy in his restaurant the day before.
Some media reports have quoted unnamed sources saying the attack could be the result of a political feud between the organiser of the festival, Valikhan Turgumbaev, who intends to run in the next legislative elections, and his rivals. Other versions have speculated that the attack could have been ordered by a rival festival called "Ural abroad", which took place a week earlier and was widely considered a failure. But the organisers of "Ural abroad" swiftly denied the allegations and strongly condemned the attack in a statement on posted on their website.
Amateur footage of the violence that disrupted the Tornado festival, posted by Tarkany! on Youtube. Images of shirtless thugs beating a man begin at 1.12'. Traumatic gun shots can be heard in the backgroud.
“The kebab vendor was arrested to protect the interests of bigger fish”
Dmitriy Spirin, the front-man of a popular Russian punk rock group "Tarakany" (Cockroach), was on the stage at the festival when the thugs attacked.
It was so sudden. At first we thought it was a group of aggressive fans that were pushing their way to the front of the scene. That sometimes happens in concerts like ours. But after a few seconds, I realised I was witnessing a massacre.
They attacked everyone they could find, indiscriminately. The most terrifying thing was their silence. Usually thugs will have some kind of motive and they will shout out whatever they are fighting for. This time, it was just a meaningless and unexplained violence and cruelty. We could not understand what was going on and that was the scariest.
I did not see with my own eyes how they got through security on the site, but people say the security guards did nothing to stop the thugs; they just stood around at the sidelines. Some say they were not equipped to do anything against armed men, so they decided not to intervene.
The whole scene happened in about 5 minutes. Then they all retreated together. The police arrived after it was all over, and just carried away the wounded. Eight men were later arrested, although I don't know on what basis. Maybe police traced some of the attacker's cars. But just arresting shirtless men found in the area would make no sense, because it was a hot day and lots of people could have taken off their shirts.
I think the version claiming that the Armenian kebab-house owner hired the whole mob is completely ridiculous. Firstly, a kebab vendor could never afford to hire 100 thugs. Secondly, he's making money on people attending the festival - why would he want to drive them away?
I think the poor guy was arrested to protect the interests of bigger fish - people who really had the power to be involved in these events. But the way the Russian justice system works is that investigators first guess is usually also the last. Maybe he won't be sentenced - I doubt they have enough proof against him - but he'll probably spend a few months in jail before being acquitted [the kebab-house owner, whose identity has not been revealed, is currently still in custody]."
Video posted here.