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Moscow police actions were correct, adequate--observer

December 16, 2012, 1:09 UTC+3

About 40 people were detained for the attempt to hold an unsanctioned rally

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MOSCOW, December 16 (Itar-Tass) —— The head of the Russian Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights, Mikhail Fedotov, describes the police's actions at Lubyanka Square near the monument, where an unsanctioned meeting was prevented on Saturday, as "adequate enough".

Fedotov told Itar-Tass that he saw what happened at the site from 14:30 to 15:30 Moscow time. People were not prevented from laying flowers at the monument.

The council head saw how opposition activists Ilya Yashin, Ksenia Sobchak and Sergei Udaltsov were detained.

Other public observers who were at the site in central Moscow also positively appraised the work of Moscow police.

Public Chamber member Olga Kostina noted that police were rather restrained, though the opposition meeting was unsanctioned. All witnessed how the police for some hours did not interfere, Kostina said, adding that police did not disperse the meeting, and citizens could themselves leave the site.

Another Public Chamber member and television journalist Nikolai Svanidze also noted the police were self-controlled. Their attitude was restrained and positive, he said, noting also that they had no batons.

Human rights activists who visited the police stations where detained people were taken said policemen were correct toward the detainees.

Public Chamber member Anton Tsvetkov said the detained citizens were placed not in cells, but in office rooms. He noted there were people who attempted to provoke police, but the policemen were correct and tried not to react to provocations.

Public Chamber member and human rights activist Dmitry Galochkin confirmed it. "On the whole, all was within the law," he said.

Political analyst Pavel Danilin, known as the author of a much-discussed report about opposition leaders, told Itar-Tass that the actions of opposition activists were provocative. They actually exposed their supporters, he said.

"The year comes to an end, and the issue of financing from customers for the action must be decided. The opposition needed to demonstrate to their masters that they are able to hold mass events, including unsanctioned," he said.

"However, it was clear that there would not be many people to come, and they would not have a good picture," Danilin noted. "In this connection, the opposition activists gave up participation in sanctioned actions that were suggested by the mayor's office," he said, recalling that the proposal to hold a meeting at Sakharov Avenue and Revolution Square was rejected. They did not expect to have a good picture there. And it was the aim of the unsanctioned event at Lubyanka. A march of 500 people, half of whom are reporters -- it is not funny, it is pitiful. If they had agreed for a meeting at Sakharov Avenue, it is clear, the small crowd would not have looked well, Danilin believes.

Commenting on the law-enforcement authorities’ reaction, the analyst described it as “very mild”. He believes the Bolotnaya Square protest was deflated already in September.

Coordination Council members Sergei Udaltsov, Ksenia Sobchak, Ilya Yashin and Alexei Navalny, who were detained at Lubyanka Square in Moscow on Saturday, were released by police, the Moscow police press service said.

About 40 people were detained for the attempt to hold an unsanctioned rally.

Earlier, Navalny's attorney Vadim Kobzev told Itar-Tass that all were released.

The Coordination Council members were detained near the Solovetsky Stone monument at Lubyanka Square.

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