MOSCOW, May 5 (Itar-Tass) - The opposition expert council has begun its protest action in downtown Moscow. The protesters are marching along Bolshaya Yakimanka Street to Bolotnaya Square, where they plan to hold a rally.
Police say, about 500 people are taking part. The organizers however planned to draw up to 10,000.
The protesters are carrying broadsheet demanding a release of “political prisoners.” The march and the rally are timed to mark an anniversary of the May 6 events in 2012, when an opposition rally ended in clashes with the police in Bolotnaya Square. As a result, a criminal case was opened on charges of mass riots. About 30 people were brought to responsibility, some of them are still behind bars.
“I don’t think any rallies on the Easter Sunday is a Russian tradition,” Maxim Shevchenko, a member of the presidential council on human rights told Itar-Tass. “This is a day when people go to see each other, when they congratulate each other on the holiday. This is not the right day to fan emotions, the more so then these emotions are politically-motivated. The opposition activists only prove how far away they are from the culture and traditions.” He drew attention to the fact that the protesters are carrying slogans with religious motives, such as “Our Lady is with the People.” “It is not polite in respect of the country, at the least,” he added.
The opposition expert council includes former candidates for membership in the opposition coordinating council who failed to be admitted there at the elections in the autumn of 2012.