MOSCOW, May 16 (Itar-Tass) — Activists of Russia’s political opposition, who gathered Wednesday afternoon on Moscow’s downtown Kudrinskaya Square after the elimination of their ‘promenade camp’ in another part of the city center, the Chistroprudny Boulevard, are getting ready for an ‘evening assembly’.
Police guarding Kudrinskaya Square, which is located a few dozen meters away from the compound of the U.S. embassy and adjoins one of the famous Stalin-era ‘seven sisters’, are not using force against the oppositionists.
As nighttime draws closer, the number of people on the square is getting thicker. The most active oppositionists are carrying the posters saying ‘Assembly. Get Together at 21:00’.
Police officers and servicemen of the Omon riot dispersal units have been seen approach the oppositionists and ask questions about the situation on several occasions. However, there have been no detentions so far.
“We’re not going to use force under any circumstances,” Yuri Ruzliayev, the chief of the Presnya district police department told reporters earlier
“For the time being, opposition activists are not breaking law and order and that’s why there are no grounds for detentions,” a local police source told Itar-Tass.
Nonetheless, an Itar-Tass reporter watching the situation on the spot said the number of policemen on the square has apparently increased in comparison with the morning hours
Tuesday, Moscow City’s Basmanny district court entertained a petition by people residing at Chistoprudny /Clean Ponds/ Boulevard and the adjoining areas and ordered the district authorities to dismantle the improvised camp, which the oppositionists put up there May 9.
The court resolution empowered the police with “interrupting the public action that impedes public order” and instructed the authorities “to put the situation back into order and ensure the safety and security of local residents.”
The police told the activists to vacate the territory by midday Wednesday.
The oppositionists decided, on their part, to stay in the area until 11:30 and to start moving along the Boulevard Ring streets if the police appeared at the site.
However, the police did not wait until midday and got down to executing the court resolution right after the opening of the metro at 06:00 hours Wednesday. Some of the oppositionists obeyed the orders and abandoned the camp on their own but about twenty or so people refused vehemently to leave the place and were detained “to clear out the circumstances and to be brought to administrative responsibility if offenses were confirmed.”
“Orderliness on Clean Ponds Boulevard has been restored and the communal services have gotten down to their daily territory amelioration works there,” a police official said.
However, notable opposition leader Boris Nemtsov and MP Ilya Ponomaryov said the oppositionists will continue round-the-clock vigil actions in the city’s parks and squares through to June 12.