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MOSCOW, March 9 (Itar-Tass) —— About ten public observers will watch the opposition rally in Moscow on March 10. The rally “For Fair Elections” will take place on Novy Arbat Street, between Novinsky and Gogolevsky Boulevards, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The protesters will gather on the sidewalk and the parking area. Their number may hit 50,000.
The observers will record the police performance and the observation of laws by the rally participants and organizers, a city police source told Itar-Tass on Friday.
“The observation mission will include members of the Moscow city police department’s public council, the Moscow human rights ombudsman and their representatives,” he said.
The police warned they would prevent violations of public order. “About 2,500 policemen, Interior Ministry Forces’ servicemen and volunteers will stand guard during the rally,” the city police department told Itar-Tass. “The Moscow police will do everything to prevent violations of public order. Any illegal actions will be stopped immediately, in strict compliance with effective laws, and the culprits will be prosecuted.”
It is not planned to suspend traffic in the rally area, “but the police may have to limit or even stop traffic along Novy Arbat in the case the crowd is too large,” the department sad.
The Saturday rally will continue thousands-strong street protests, which started in Moscow after the parliamentary election in late December 2012. About 200 people, among them Sergei Udaltsov, Ilya Yashin and Alexei Navalny, were seized in an attempt to hold an unauthorized action after the permitted opposition rally on March 5. All of them are free now.
Yabloko leader Sergei Mitrokhin condemned the unauthorized action attempt. “While criticizing the police, we must understand that the violence was triggered by certain organizers of the rally. Sergei Udaltsov guided with his radical revolutionary ideas called on rally participants to stay on the square until Putin leaves,” he wrote in the LiveJournal. “I think that both the police and the ‘heroes’ who are prepared to spill their own and somebody else’s blood, like revolutionaries did in the past, shall be called responsible. Radical actions should be held separately from large rallies, in which the majority of people do not want to be hit on the head with a club.”