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The opposition on Tuesday again failed to get the consent of the Moscow mayor's office for the March of Freedom that is scheduled for December 15. The organisers requested to permit them a procession down any central street in the city, but with its indispensable finish in Lubyanka Square, however, their request was turned down. Now the protesters plan to gather for an unsanctioned rally at the Solovki Stone.
The city administration told the Kommersant daily that on Wednesday the officials will notify the Prosecutor's Office that "the event has not been sanctioned" and will "request to take the corresponding measures."
"It was the last day when the event could be authorised by law. We have offered a lot of trade-offs, but the mayor's office apparently felt that crisis is maturing in the protest movement and just stopped listening to us," the newspaper quotes member of the Solidarity movement Sergei Davidis who is one of the organisers of the event.
The opposition considered for the 50 thousand-strong march several possible routes down the main city streets, but in all cases the action was to be ended in Lubyanka Square. However, officials said that during the weekend the closure of entrances to Lubyanka Square will cause traffic problems. So, on Tuesday, three alternative routes were discussed at the mayor's office. The opposition members were not satisfied with any of them. "They did not heed our requests, so on December 15 we will all come to Lubyanka," Davidis said. The unsanctioned action participants are expected to lay flowers at the Solovki Stone in protest against political repression, will "stand there for 15 minutes and leave, not provoking the police."
And the opposition negotiations with the St. Petersburg city government have been successful. On December 15, two Marches of Freedom will be staged in the city. Both marches will be held on the same route of about 1.5 kilometres from the Gorkovskaya metro station to Marsovo Pole (Field of Mars).
"The city can put up with the closure of several streets for an hour or two. It's just a ploy in order not to let us in the centre," the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper quotes Davidis. Co-chair of the RPR-PARNAS (Republican Party of Russia – People's Freedom Party) Boris Nemtsov suggested in an interview with the newspaper that the government's actions are dictated by only one reason - to deprive the opposition members of the time for agitation: "Because under the new law it is not allowed to invite people to an action until it is authorised."
The authorities' plan works, observers stress – the time for agitation is lost. Most Muscovites are not aware of the planned action. Leaflets with the invitation to come on December 15 to the centre of Moscow that volunteers put on lamp poles or at entrances of apartment building are instantly torn off by yard-keepers.
Even members of the Coordination Council of the opposition intend to personally draw the attention of Muscovites to the procession. They plan to hand out the invitations to the action in which its route is specified standing at the metro stations.
The opposition members who have already made the decision to come to the rally, called on the citizens to come to Lubyanka on December 15, regardless of the outcome of negotiations with the mayor's office. This position was supported by about 90 percent of the participants in a poll conducted in Facebook.