МOSCOW, October 27 (Itar-Tass) - A mass stroll of activists of Russian off-parliament opposition movements and associations has begun in downtown Moscow.
About 4,500 or so oppositionists, including the figureheads like the blogger and businessman Alexei Navalny started moving from Pushkin Square, which was their point of assembly, down the Strastnoi, Petrovsky, Rozhdestvensky, and Sretensky Boulevards towards the crossing of Turgenev Square and Academician Sakharov Avenue.
The oppositionists are holding the photographs for former oil industry tycoon Mikhail Khodorvkosky, the activist of the highly controversial Pussy Riot grouping, Maria Alyokhina, and the people featured in the criminal case of the May 6, 2012, disturbances on Bolotnaya Square.
Supporters of the former mayor of the Volga city of Yaroslavl, Yevgeny Urlashov, formed a separate column.
Members of the Solidarity movement, the rightwing RPR-Parnas party, and the liberal rightwing Yabloko party have also joined the march.
In the first phase of the event, the situation was generally quiet, as about 3,000 policemen and voluntary police assistants had been brought in to control law and order. They were assisted by a police helicopter in the air.
Before joining the columns, the participants in the march had to go though metal detection arches.
The oppositionist action necessitated the suspension of traffic on Strastnoi, Petrovsky, Rozhdenstvensky, and Sretensky boulevards.