Astrakhan former mayor candidate ends hunger strike on its 40th day
24.04.12 14:46 By Svetlana Bocharova, edited by Karina Ayvazova
Rehabilitation period after Shein's hunger strike will take 10 days Photo: Reuters
Oleg Shein, the former Astrakhan mayor candidate has announced the end of the hunger strike which he started 40 days ago.
"I just received a phone call from the court – they released the last of my detained friends. That means, the hunger strike is over," Shein wrote on his blog.
The main aim of the strike was to draw attention to vote rigging during the mayoral election in Astrakahn on March 4, 2012.
Earlier he said to Gazeta.ru that he would begin eating again after the release of all his supporters
During the hunger strike Shein lost 14 kilos, got "heart problems", and has been "surviving" on sugar injections for the last couple of weeks, which "maintained his brain so it would not switch off."
Currently the Astrakhan city court is preparing for hearings concerning the cancellation of the mayoral vote results. Shein says that there is enough proof for the court to cancel them. Initially, Shein started hunger strike because he was not given video recordings from voting stations in Astrakhan. He, however, then obtained them and even held a screening session in Moscow with the Central Election commission head, Vladimir Churov.
According to the official vote results, Shein lost the election to the United Russia party candidate, Mikhail Stolyarov, 30% vs 60% of the votes.
The opposition candidate immediately declared the election rigged and began a hunger strike after 12 days.
Twenty of Shein's supporters have also refused to eat. At first, the protest action did not attract much attention, but after the 20th day, Moscow supporters of Shein went to Astrakhan and held a mass protest rally in the city center.
The Central Election Commission
Last Friday, Vladimir Churov admitted there were violations in the majority of voting stations, however he said nothing about canceling the vote results.
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