Russian police raid bars flouting COVID-19 measures, beat some revellers - CCTV
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian police raided a bar in St Petersburg in Wednesday's early hours and beat some customers with truncheons, CCTV footage showed, part of a clampdown on businesses ignoring coronavirus restrictions that they say will bankrupt them. New rules require bars to close by 11 p.m. due to the pandemic
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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian police raided a bar in St Petersburg in Wednesday's early hours and beat some customers with truncheons, CCTV footage showed, part of a clampdown on businesses ignoring coronavirus restrictions that they say will bankrupt them.
New rules require bars to close by 11 p.m. due to the pandemic. The Commode bar, which was raided by police, is one of dozens of bars, restaurants and cafes in St Petersburg that say this requirement and others due to take effect are excessive.
The Investigative Committee law enforcement agency announced city-wide raids in a statement in the early hours. City Hall said any force by the police was used in response to force used against officers.
More than a dozen law enforcement officers could be seen pouring into Commode bar in CCTV footage. Some customers could be seen face down on the floor, while officers used truncheons against some people.
"We didn't expect them to break down the doors and kick and beat girls with batons," Nikita Farbess, Commode's co-owner, told Reuters, adding he hoped the incident would help their plight be taken into account.
Coronavirus cases have surged since September and St Petersburg, a city of around 5 million, has confirmed high numbers. It reported 3,761 new cases and 83 deaths on Wednesday.
Entrepreneurs have complained for months about what they say is inadequate state support to weather the coronavirus crisis.
Though the Kremlin has said there is no need for a tough national lockdown to rein in cases and that targeted measures are enough, it said on Wednesday that St Petersburg was close to crossing a red line and criticised bars flouting the curbs.
"The resistance movement is not resistance against the regional authorities, but against people whose lives they are putting in danger," a Kremlin spokesman said.
(Reporting by Maria Vasilyeva; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Mark Heinrich)
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