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Police release Yabloko leader who promises to stage new protest action

June 05, 2012, 18:06 UTC+3

A protocol has been drawn; the police believe I participated in unsanctioned picket near the State Duma

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MOSCOW, June 5 (Itar-Tass) — Police released Yabloko Party leader Sergei Mitrohkin. He has been kept at the Tverskoye police department since his detention earlier in the day for what the authorities described as "unsanctioned picket."

"A protocol has been drawn; the police believe I participated in unsanctioned picket near the State Duma, and therefore violated Article 20.2 of the Code of Administrative Offenses. A court will review my case on June 18," the politician said.

Mitrokhin insisted that he had been campaigning for participation in a sanctioned picket against the bill which toughens penalties for violations at rallies.

"Tomorrow we'll continue the struggle against this bill. At 1:00, Moscow time, we'll single-picket the Federation Council, and in the evening, there'll be a stroll in Alexandrovsky Garden," the Yabloko leader said.

The State Duma has already approved the amendment to the bill which hikes the fines for abusing the rallies law to 300,000 roubles for ordinary citizens.

Mitrokhin earlier called the document "fiendish and totalitarian."

It is not the first Yabloko action against the new legislation. At the previous protest action, the Yabloko leader was detained as well.

Meanwhile, reports said the Opposition had begun the promised "work-to-rule strike" to delay the legislation.

A Just Russia faction in the parliament introduced 359 amendments before the break at 14:00, Moscow time. A decision on each takes at least three minutes, and if the house considers all, the review will extend to a total of 18 hours. The session is due to be finished by 18:00, Moscow time. The house has the right to extend it.

The ruling United Russia party planned to approve the 2nd and 3rd reading of the bill on Tuesday and pass it to the Federation Council upper house of the Russian parliament for review on Wednesday.

The amendments proposed by A Just Russia are often absurd, such as temperature restrictions on community work /at least 10 degrees Celsius and not more than 30 degrees Celsius/. The objective is to prevent the adoption of the bill by June 12, when the next "March of Millions' is planned.

Gennady Gudkov of A Just Russia said ahead of the voting that the bill "spells the death" of Article 31 of the Constitution.

"Today, our country will rescind the Constitution - not all of it, just Article 31, which says that citizens have the right to freely convene, and hold peaceful rallies unarmed," Gudkov said.

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