Activist who ate live bat in front of European Parliament taken into police custody, released
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Activist who ate live bat in front of European Parliament taken into police custody, released

Petr Davydtchenko

The Russian activist and performance artist Petr Davydtchenko was taken to a Brussels police station on Wednesday after returning to the scene of a demonstration in which he made good on a promise to eat a live bat outside of the European Parliament.

Eating the bat was intended as an act of protest against what he calls an unjust distribution of the coronavirus vaccine.

Police confirmed to The Brussels Times that Davydtchenko, who had eaten the bat before the announced time of noon in order to avoid being prevented from completing his act of protest, was taken into custody when he returned to parliament to issue a statement explaining his demonstration, which he filmed.

“The police were waiting for my arrival,” Davydtchenko said. “They identified me by my corporate branding, the Pfizer tattoo on my forehead, a signature that has come to represent false hope for millions of poor people around the world.”

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Davydtchenko says he was stripped and searched for the bat that he had already eaten.

“We took him to the police station, we did a control check and there was no animal, so there was no action,” a spokesperson for the Brussels police told The Brussels Times.

The Parliament press service said Wednesday that “the Parliament is in no way associated to this distasteful and cruel event,” but Davydtchenko defended his protest.

“To those deeply hurt and offended by my action, I suggest you aim your hatred and anger at a bigger threat,” he said.

“The EU takes millions in lobbying money from pharmaceutical companies every year – the companies that make government-funded drugs unaffordable to national health services, the companies that spend more on marketing than they do on research, the companies that will only cure your sickness if you are rich enough.”

Davydtchenko issued a statement in which he claims that manufacturers of coronavirus vaccines are deliberately preventing a fair distribution of them in order to prioritise profit.

“Governments around the world have pledged hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ money towards finding a cure for Covid-19. But despite this, companies such as Pfizer and GSK have refused to take part in a World Health Organisation proposal that would have ensured that any medicine would have been patent-free and fairly distributed to those in need,” reads the statement in part.

“The future welfare of the global population remains in the hands of these profit-driven corporations who blackmail civilisation for profits of an unprecedented scale.”

Davydtchenko’s activism related to the coronavirus pandemic will be featured in an upcoming exhibit at the BPS2 museum in Charleroi.

Helen Lyons
The Brussels Times