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Participants in Moscow unauthorized protest may face fines, arrests

March 26, 13:43 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Earlier, prosecution of Moscow’s Central District warned organizers of the unauthorized rally against violating the law

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MOSCOW, March 26. /TASS/. Participants in the opposition’s protest in central Moscow may face fines up to 20,000 rubles (about $333) and arrests for up to 15 days, and criminal responsibility for hooliganism, well-known Russian lawyers and a high-ranking police official told TASS on Sunday.

"Participation in unauthorized rallies is punished with rather high fines from ten to 20 thousand rubles, and with a possible arrest for up to 15 days," says lawyer Dmitry Agranovsky, who used to represent the oppositionists brought for responsibility after the rally in Bolotnaya Square which developed into mass disorders.

The lawyers expressed personal negative attitude to participation in an unauthorized rally and warned possible participants about strict legal regulations in Russia and about the judicial practice.

"I would rather specify such rallies as provocations, and here it is important that their purpose is not participation in the political process, but destabilizing of life. It is important for organizers to cause a scandal, so that could appear new political prisoners, new victims," the lawyer said referring to his experience in the case after the Bolotnaya Square rally.

Another lawyer, Alexei Mikhalchik, who had represented a nationalist Maxim Martsinkevich and some others brought to responsibility under cases related to extremism, spoke about possible criminal proceedings against participants in unauthorized events.

"We know from the practice that events of the kind may cause opening of criminal cases on use of force against law enforcers. The legislation’s norms are formulated so that it is up to law enforcers to say whether a person did participate in the rally, whether this or that person resisted during the arrest or not," the lawyer said.

A high-ranking source at the Moscow police told TASS "for the attempt to destabilize the situation in Moscow, and for possible attempts of illegal actions, against participants in unauthorized rallies will be used measures in line with the Russian legislation, including the criminal responsibility."

The rally is not approved by the Moscow authorities, he added. "Those who want to participate in it, should realize possible consequences."

The high-ranking official said the Moscow police would undertake all measures to protect Muscovites who come on this sunny day to see central districts, and the police would not allow any violation of the order in the city.

Warning to organizers

Earlier, prosecution of Moscow’s Central District warned organizers of the unauthorized rally against violating the law. The press service said in compliance with the legislation law enforcers have the right to undertake all necessary measures to stop provocations, mass disorders and any actions causing public insecurity or threatening lives and health of people.

The police are asking Muscovites and guests of the city to refrain from taking part in the unauthorized event, as it is illegal and as it makes additional risks of provocations aimed at violation of the order. Thus, personal security may be at threat. Besides, the police said about the responsibility of organizers of a public event.

For March 26 representatives of the Party of Progress, which registration had been revoked, are planning a rally and protest along the central street in Moscow. The event was not agreed with the Moscow authorities. The city officials suggested other places to the organizers, but no response ever came from them. In their turn, organizers of the anti-corruption rally refused to have the protest at the Sokolniki Park or in Pererva Street in the Maryino district.

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