Police arrested four protesters who occupied the mansion of Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska in London’s Belgravia on March 14.
“The four people protesting on the balcony of a building in Belgrave Square, W1 have come down and been arrested. A police presence will remain at the scene,” Westminster police said.
The protesters got into the property around 1 a.m. local time and said they wanted to open the mansion for refugees fleeing Ukraine from the Russian invasion.
Police spent hours trying to persuade the protesters to come down from the balcony at the front of the building.
Police used a crane to access the balcony and officers in riot gear used a drill to break open the front door and enter the building.
Police also cordoned off the street with at least 10 police vehicles and over 30 officers at the scene.
The protesters declined to say how they entered the property, only saying that “it required climbing skills” and “squatters’ magic.”
“This is not ordinary squatting. This is property liberation,” one of the protesters said.
“You occupy Ukraine, we occupy you,” the protesters also said in a message to Russian oligarchs.
The protesters called themselves London Makhnovists, after Nestor Makhno, the Ukrainian who led the anarchist force during the Russian Revolution of 1917-1923.
In a statement to The Guardian, the protesters said the invasion of Ukraine was the latest in a series of human rights abuses by Putin’s government.
“This mansion will serve as a center for refugee support for Ukrainians and people of all nations and ethnicities,” the protesters said.
Deripaska, an aluminum magnate, has been described as “a prominent Russian businessman and pro-Kremlin oligarch.” He is among the seven Russian oligarchs sanctioned by the British government in response to the Russian invasion.
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