AP 08/29 1530 Soviet-Hare Krishna
MOSCOW (AP) -- Police broke up a demonstration by about 100 Soviet Hare
Krishna activists Saturday evening and took half of them away to police
stations in buses and cars, members of the religious group said.
Two of the activists, Lev Chernyak and Olga Kustriya, said the demonstration
in front of the Moscow City Soviet lasted no more than five minutes before
police waded in to disperse it.
They said the group carried signs demanding that they be recognized by
authorities as an official religious group and calling for freedom for Hare
Krishnas they say are being held in jails or psychiatric hospitals for their
Ms. Kustriya said authorities released her quickly, but that she did not
know how long others who were detained would be held.
On Aug. 17, about a dozen Hare Krishnas were detained as they sang prayers
on an outdoor shopping mall.
Hare Krishnas say Soviet authorities prevent them from openly practicing
their religion, which is an offshoot of Hinduism. Soviet law does not forbid
the practicing of religion but requires that religious groups be registered
with the state.
The Hare Krishnas say authorities have refused to register them or failed to
respond to their requests for registration. They say about 25 Hare Krishnas are
being held in jails or psychiatric hospitals.