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9 June, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Moscow students make rare protest against WC

AFP

AFP,  MOSCOW: Construction of the World Cup fan zone outside Moscow's top university is fuelling a rare protest in Russia as students worry thousands of partying football fans will destroy one of the capital's few green spaces.

The row pits students at Moscow State University against a recently re-elected President Vladimir Putin whose administration does not easily brook dissent and has gone all out to ensure the month-long football extravaganza goes off without a hitch. The area will have concerts and entertainment for up to 25,000 fans as well a giant interactive screen for those without tickets to watch matches.

It is being built in the park below the main building of Moscow State University -- one of the city's seven Stalinist skyscrapers -- which overlooks the Luzhniki stadium where the opening match will be played on June 14 as well as the final on July 15.

Many of the university's over 6,000 students and employees are not thrilled about their campus hosting the fan zone because of the disruption and damage it will cause.

“We started the protest when they told us last year our semester would be cut short because of the fan zone,” said Maria Shekoshkhina, a 26 year-old PhD student.

Security services, she said, maintain that the university labs have to close for the World Cup period because of their work with radioactive materials.

“There was also a risk that students will be moved out of their dorms to make way for the National Guard, like in other World Cup cities,” she added.

The protesting students won what appeared to be a partial victory earlier this year when Moscow authorities assured them this will not happen and moved the fan zone 300 metres (1,000 feet) further from the university.

But Shekoshkhina said the university and city authorities have not fulfilled their promises and gone to "absurd" lengths to stop the student protests. When over 200 students protested on May 22, the university "spontaneously deployed" dozens of cleaners to disrupt the event.

“There were also lots of FSB (the successor agency of the KGB) there," Shekoshkhina added. "We've started to recognise them,” she laughed.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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