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20 persons detained near parliament building in Moscow

June 05, 2012, 11:04 UTC+3

Leader of the Yabloko Party Sergei Mitrokhin was detained as well

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MOSCOW, June 5 (Itar-Tass) — Moscow police detained some 20 persons for unsanctioned action near the building of the State Duma lower house of the Russian parliament on Tuesday, the press service of the Interior Ministry's department for the Russian capital told Itar-Tass. Leader of the Yabloko Party Sergei Mitrokhin was detained as well.

"Some 20 persons were detained for organizing an unsanctioned event near the State Duma, including the leader of the Yabloko Party Sergei Mitrokhin," a police official said.

The Yabloko activists gathered near the State Duma to promote the picket coordinated with the authorities against the bill that toughens penalties for violations at rallies.

Some 50 persons are near the parliament, including journalists. The situation has been calm, on the whole. Reinforced police units are deployed in the area and police vans for transportations of detainees are on hand at the entrance to the parliament.

It is not the first Yabloko action against the rallies bill. At the previous action, the Yabloko leader was detained as well.

On Tuesday, the State Duma is to consider the 2nd, and, most likely, the 3rd reading of the new legislation.

A report from the scene said police had detained a man with a white ribbon who had been shouting "Shame on the State Duma" despite warnings.

Mitrokhin earlier called the bill "fiendish and totalitarian." He said that the picket had been sanctioned by the Moscow authorities and that the law did not prohibit inviting people to participate in it.

Lawmaker Gennady Gudkov /A Just Russia faction/ said the Opposition was seeking to delay the passage of the bill.

"I we begin to discuss each of the several hundreds of amendments, I believe, we'll finish by three or four or clock in the morning. It is good, because it will draw the society's attention to this bill.

"People in provinces know little about the essence of this document, and if the State Duma discusses it at night, it will draw attention," Gudkov underlined.

The new bill envisions a dramatic increase in fines for violations at rallies: up to 300,000 roubles for ordinary citizens. The State Duma is to begin the discussion of the bill at 16:00, Moscow time, on Tuesday.

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