Activists seize London mansion linked to Oleg Deripaska

Activists seize mansion Oleg Deripaska
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Activists seize London mansion linked to Oleg Deripaska

Activists in London briefly seize a multimillion-dollar mansion linked to Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch subject to sanctions, saying they want to use it to house refugees fleeing Russia’s war on Ukraine.

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The group broke into the property at 5 Belgrave Square – one of the most exclusive addresses in the centre of the United Kingdom’s capital – and hung the Ukrainian flag outside alongside banners, one of which read: “This property has been liberated.”

Police, who were called out in the early hours of Monday, arrived and set up a cordon before later using a drill to break open the front door and a crane to access the balcony. Four people who had gained entry to the building’s balcony “have come down and been arrested”, police said, adding that they would maintain a presence after ending the protest.

Al Jazeera’s Sonia Gallego, reporting from outside the mansion, said the protesters were unhappy with the UK government’s efforts to help those escaping the war in Ukraine.

“The group that took over the seven-bedroom property said they want to give it over to Ukrainian refugees,” Gallego said.

“They also criticised the government for not doing enough to help people fleeing the war and they say the UK government is doing more to protect the interest of those oligarchs,” she added.

One of those inside the mansion told AFP news agency earlier by telephone: “We are a property liberation front. That’s what we do. It’s not really squatting, it’s liberating.”

Another said: “Our intention is to use it to house [Ukrainian] refugees.”

The activists criticised the length of time it could take to implement British sanctions against those identified by the government as being part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.

“They say it might take up to six months to seize their property. Come on, it’s ridiculous,” one said.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said on Monday that “we are working to identify the appropriate use for seized property while owners are subject to sanctions.”

Activists briefly seize London mansion linked to Oleg Deripaska  Al Jazeera English

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