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Opposition turns down protest action venues offered by Moscow city authorities

June 08, 2012, 14:17 UTC+3
The two opposition leaders said that negotiations with the city authorities would be continued later in the day
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MOSCOW, June 8 (Itar-Tass) —— The opposition has turned down possible venues for protest actions on June 12, the Russia Day, offered by the Moscow city authorities.

Neither a march along the Krymskaya Embankment with a rally near the Museon park, nor a rally in the Sakharov Avenue are acceptable for the opposition, Sergei Parkhomenko, a member of the League of Voters, and Boris Nemtsov, a co-chairman of the unregistered Party of People’s Freedom, or PARNAS, told Itar-Tass on Friday.

According to Parkhomenko, the Krymskaya Embankment is too narrow to allow room for a march of 50,000 participants the opposition plans to draw. The same can be said about the square in front of the Museon park, which is enough for only 25,000 people. “They want us to reduce the number of participants, but how can we do that? It is not a stick of salami that can be sliced,” he said.

Boris Nemtsov, in turn, said that a march along the Krymskaya Embankment might be a repetition of a stampeded in Moscow’s Khodynskoye field during the crowning celebrations back in 1896, when hundreds of people were killed. “People will squeeze each other to death there. The embankment is not enough to give room to more than 2,000 people. And what if 50,000 come?,” he said. “And we must ensure their safety.”

“Another possible venue – the Sakharov Avenue – won’t do either, since it provides for no march,” he went on. “Our proposal to the mayor’s office was to hold a rally in the Sakharov Avenue, preceded by a march along the Boulevard Ring.”

The two opposition leaders said that negotiations with the city authorities would be continued later in the day. “But we have not much time left,” Parkhomenko noted.

Earlier in the day, Moscow’s authorities have offered the opposition two options for a March of Millions on June 12, the Russia Day. “The first option is to hold a rally in the Sakarov Avenue, the second one is a march along the Krymskaya embankment and a rally near the Museon park, maybe in the park, depending on how many people take part in the action,” Alexei Mayorov, the director of Moscow’s regional security department, told Itar-Tass on Friday.

According to Mayorov, the second venue is located inside the Garden Ring, a thing much wanted by the opposition. “These are the only two options that do not tell on plans of festival events in the city,” he stressed.

The final decision is to be taken by 18:00 Moscow time on Friday.

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