The church had sought -- and thought it received -- permission to hold a weeklong demonstration across from City Hall over the loss of land that it had hoped to use to build a house of worship.
But on May 30 and June 1, police and OMON special forces violently broke up the demonstrations, throwing women and children to the ground and swearing at them, parishioners said. One of them, Marina Karandayeva, raised her sleeve to show an ugly ring of bruises around her arm.
For Emmanuel's believers, it was the latest indignity in a decade-long struggle to build a church for their 1,000-member Moscow parish. For some religious liberty organizations, it was further evidence of a mounting, and in some cases violent, trend to persecute Protestant religious minorities.
Other religions have been having problems too. The Jehovah's Witnesses were disincorporated in Moscow city a year or so back. They were found to not be promoting Russian values or something like that. They tend to be persistent and obnoxious and are not well liked even in the US. But it is hard to maintain that a society is free when it can proscribe certain beliefs even ones that are not liked by a lot of people. It is really only a short distance from this to mandating what has been determined to be acceptable thinking.
More people ought to be up in arms over this. But since it is religion and certain minority religions at that, I won't be holding my breathe until they do.