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The Russian authorities and the opposition cannot agree on a venue for protest actions

June 04, 2012, 12:15 UTC+3
The March of Millions route, which is applied for on June 12, will lay only within the Garden Ring Road, a bidder for the protest action Sergei Udaltsov told
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MOSCOW, June 4 (Itar-Tass) — The Russian authorities are getting ready to the March of Millions, which the opposition set on June 12. The law on a harsher punishment for rallies is to enter into force by this day. Meanwhile, the Moscow Mayor’s Office and the opposition fail to agree so far on a venue for protest actions on June 12. Representatives of the opposition want to protest only in the centre of the Russian capital.

The State Duma Committee for Constitutional Legislation with the support of the United Russia faction did everything so that any street actions will be held under the control of the authorities, at approved places and with the approved number of people, the Kommersant daily reported. The State Duma will approve the amendments necessary for these rules in the Code of Administrative Offences and the legislation on rallies in the second and third readings on Tuesday.

In this case the new rules will come in effect already from June 12 that is the day, when the March of Millions is due, the newspaper reported.

The Vedomosti daily reported that though by the third reading the level of fines was lowered a little bit, the bill remains too harsh all the same and violates the constitutional right of Russian citizens for the freedom of assembly. The newspaper recalled that the amendments were initiated after the dispersal of the May 6 march and are being approved urgently to approve them finally by a next protest action on June 12. These new rules give grounds to the arbitrariness of police and pose corruption risks for judges.

This legislative initiative, as several other initiatives, has two special features. This initiative puts up administrative protecting barriers for ruling politicians, but also does not create a systemic political defence for “the ruling class,” the newspaper affirmed.

The Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily reported that a new provision was added to the bill last Friday at a meeting of the State Duma Committee for Constitutional Legislation. In particular, the provision to take as propaganda the appeals, particularly through the Internet, to protest actions, was dropped. However, a new term “public appeals” was immediately introduced. The term is not described in the law.

“Public appeals – this is everything: Internet, social networks, sms messages, telephone conversations, if they were recorded, speeches and media publications,” head of the legal service of the Russian Communist Party Vadim Solovyev explained to the Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily.

The March of Millions route, which is applied for on June 12, will lay only within the Garden Ring Road, a bidder for the protest action Sergei Udaltsov told the Novye Izvestia daily. The council of the opposition, which met on the Chistye Prudy Boulevard on Saturday, believed that the authorities will agree only on a provocative place for the event, when the protesters can be easily pushed to the walls of buildings and can block the ways to all new protesters to a major mob. For instance, the Bolotnaya Square was this kind of venue. In case of refusal to authorize the March of Millions on central streets, potential protesters are ready to go out for an unauthorized action. The bidders for the protest action were initially planning to hold a march in Tverskaya Street and end it with a rally on the Borovitskaya Square. The Moscow Mayor’s Office refused to them under the pretext of festive events on Russia Day, proposing to them an alternative route: a march on the Frunzenskaya Embankment and a rally at the St. Andrew Bridge. The oppositionists refuted this variant.

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