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Alternative rally bill submitted to State Duma

May 29, 2012, 21:55 UTC+3

Deputies Dmitry Gudkov and Ilya Ponomaryov proposed the alternative bill, which was drafted at the Alexei Kudrin Fund

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MOSCOW, May 29 (Itar-Tass) —— A Just Russia faction submitted an alternative rally bill to the State Duma on Tuesday, the house administration told Itar-Tass.

Deputies Dmitry Gudkov and Ilya Ponomaryov proposed the alternative bill, which was drafted at the Alexei Kudrin Fund for Support to Civil Initiatives and the Contemporary Development Institute.

The deputies did not deny that the bill was supposed to counterbalance the United Russia initiative, which increased manifold fines for rally violations.

The alternative bill stipulates the preservation of current amounts of fines set by the Russian Code of Administrative Offenses and rejects the supplementary punishment, such as correctional works. “The types and sizes of fines are an area of the Russian Code of Administrative Offensives. Fines cannot be changed specifically for rally violations,” Ponomonaryov said. Therefore, they proposed to keep the maximal fine for individuals at 5,000 rubles and for officials at 50,000 rubles and the administrative arrest of 15 days.

However, the deputies proposed to supplement the list of violations with the impediment to motor traffic, the breach of public peace, the carrying of weapons, explosives or inflammatory liquids to the rallies and the like.

The bill stipulates a number of new bans, for instance, it suggested banning the wearing of masks or drinking alcoholic beverages during rallies. In this part the alternative bill does not differ from the one suggested by United Russia for the second reading.

A Just Russia proposed to amend not only the Code of Administrative Offenses but also the rally law and to liberalize that form of public actions (rallies). For instance, the bill proposed legalization of flash mobs in the case of immediate notification of the authorities, to permit long-lasting public actions and single and two-three men pickets.

The deputies proposed not to punish rally organizers for exceeding the number of rally participants in the case the organizers provided law and order.

“In our opinion, this is a rather balanced and comprehensive bill,” Ponomaryov said.

The State Duma passed in the first reading on May 22 the bill, which increased up to 1.5 million rubles fines for rally violations. Only United Russia voted for the bill. Source said the fines might be reduced by the second reading of the bill, from 20,000-30,000 rubles for individuals, up to 500,000 for legal entities and 600,000 rubles for officials. The bill caused a broad public response and opposition protests were held near the parliament edifice. The second reading of the bill is due on May 30.


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