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Wednesday, 22 May, 2002, 12:31 GMT 13:31 UK
Outcry as policeman punches child
Policeman's fist hitting child in her mother's arms
The punch happened during a clash with protesters
Television pictures of a policeman punching a child in the face have shocked viewers in Russia.

The image was captured in Vladivostok, as police attempted to deal with a picket staged by fishermen and their families.

The footage shows a policeman involved in angry exchanges with one of the protesters, a young mother carrying her daughter in her arms.

As the argument continues, the policeman advances and lashes out with his fist, punching the child in the face.

Girl in mother's arms
The girl was distressed even before the punch was thrown
The policeman was named in Russian media reports as Lieutenant Colonel Aleksandr Lysenko, the head of the city's traffic police.

Russian radio said he had been sacked, but other reports said he had been suspended while an investigation was carried out.

Officials are complaining that Russian television has presented a one-sided account of the encounter, claiming that earlier pictures of the woman attacking the officer with her handbag had not been shown.

Vladivostok district prosecutors are investigating whether the police used illegal methods or excessive force to disperse the blockade.

A delegation from the Russian Interior Ministry was also said to be flying to Vladivostok to investigate.

Around 200 people took part in the protest, claiming they were owed months of wage arrears.

The officer could face a prison sentence of between three and 10 years if convicted of assaulting the woman.

Prosecutors are also investigating the workers' claims over their non-paid wages.

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Enda Twomey
"The incident took place in the port of Vladivostok"
See also:

09 Jan 02 | Asia-Pacific
04 Jan 02 | Asia-Pacific
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