Russia investigates after journalist says police broke his arm at polling station during Putin vote

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian investigators said on Tuesday they were looking into a journalist's allegations he had been assaulted by two policemen at a polling station in St Petersburg during a vote to change the constitution and that they had broken his arm.

Russians have been voting to amend the constitution, a move that if, as expected, is endorsed would allow Vladimir Putin to run again for president twice, potentially extending his long rule until 2036.

Video footage of the incident circulated online and obtained by Reuters showed two policemen trying to detain David Frenkel, a reporter and photographer for Mediazona, an independent outlet, at a polling station.

Frenkel could be heard screaming in pain after his arm was pinned behind his back by the policemen following an audible cracking sound. "Well, I have a broken arm," - Frenkel wrote on Twitter after being sent to hospital.

Mediazona said he had gone to the polling station to check possible violations. He had undergone surgery due to his injury, it added.

Frenkel and the police were not available for immediate comment.

Mediazona cited the police in St Petersburg as saying they had helped election officials remove an individual who was interfering with their work, had acted legally, and that they had not received any complaint about their actions.

Putin has called for officials to ensure that the vote, which culminates on Wednesday, is beyond reproach, something they have promised to do. Kremlin critics allege multiple violations and say the vote is being rigged.

(Reporting by Anton Zverev and Peter Scott Editing by Andrew Osborn and Mark Heinrich)

06/30/2020 19:31

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