Residents In Russia’s Saratov Protest After Killing Of Local Schoolgirl
October 11, 2019 09:52 GMT UPDATED October 11, 2019 12:22 GMT
MOSCOW — Angry residents in Russia’s Volga River city of Saratov are holding a second day of demonstrations following the killing of a local schoolgirl.
Police on October 11 reportedly used tear gas against the protesters, who were demanding that officials hand over the suspect in the case to them.
It was difficult to estimate the size of the crowd because of darkness, but some estimates put the number in the hundreds, while others said thousands.
Liza Kiselyova went missing as she was heading to school on October 9, sparking a search by hundreds of local volunteers.
The body of the nine-year-old was found late on October 10 in a cluster of garages.
Although there has been no official statement on the case from police, local media have reported that a 35- or 36-year-old Saratov man has been arrested and has reportedly confessed to the killing. Media reports also said the man had previously been convicted of “violent acts of a sexual nature.”
The protesters gathered at the garages because they believed police intended to bring the suspect to the location where the girl’s body was found.
Protesters reportedly attacked a police vehicle and demanded that officials hand over the suspect to them. Riot police were dispatched to the scene to restore order.
A second demonstration was being held outside the police precinct where the suspect was believed to be being held.
Saratov police chief Andrei Chepurnoi has called for calm as demonstrators have blocked the street outside the precinct.
On October 11, the Investigative Committee released what it said was a video of the suspect confessing to killing Kiselyova. The suspect is not identified in the video, but the website Meduza named him as Mikhail Tuvatin.
A statement issued by the Investigative Committee said the suspect had been squatting illegally in one of the garages for several months and thought it might belong to the family of the victim. The statement said he purportedly abducted Kiselyova and killed her inside the garage as she passed by on her way to school.
The Investigative Committee statement said the suspect had earlier been convicted of rape, robbery, and “violent acts of a sexual nature.”
The Investigative Committee in Moscow has sent a group of investigators to Saratov to assist in the probe.
More than 20,000 people have signed an online petition calling for “guaranteed life imprisonment” for the killer.
(C) RFE/RL 2019