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‘Justified’: Kremlin backs police getting tough on curbing illegal rallies

The spokesman declined to predict whether the number of illegal rallies would rise
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov Mikhail Metzel/TASS
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov
© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

MOSCOW, February 3. /TASS/. The Kremlin is concerned over unauthorized rallies, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday, noting that harsh police steps on curbing such events were justified.

"In general, holding unauthorized rallies arouses concerns and confirms that harsh police steps are justified in accordance with the law," Peskov said.

The Kremlin spokesman declined to predict whether the number of illegal rallies would rise. "The only thing that I can say: no doubt, this activity should be curbed by the law enforcement agencies in every way," Peskov said, noting that Russian sociologists constantly study the scale of protest activity, and opinion polls have been carried out on that score and there are various data.

"The most important thing is to prevent unauthorized protest activity. This is that activity that should be certainly harshly cracked down," Peskov noted.

"Yesterday there were some calls for an unauthorized rally and there were those willing to stage such an unauthorized rally," he said commenting on the February 2 events. "Police responded rather resolutely and the police reaction was explained by threats, which could emerge during the unauthorized rally." Meanwhile, the situation remained calm namely "thanks to the resolute steps of police," the Kremlin spokesman stressed.

However, those steps that raise questions are subject to internal investigation and further legal evaluation, he said. All such cases should be considered separately, Peskov said, commenting on videos of police detaining citizens at bus stops and in cars. "As for these citizens in cars, this [detention - TASS] came after provocative calls and insults," he recalled. "That’s why here everyone needs to evaluate and qualify the events objectively and unbiasedly."

"Provocateurs bring certain discomfort in the city life," he stated. "Together with you we should just refuse to yield to all these provocations, in this case just help [law enforcement] personnel, thus counter these provocateurs and ensure order." At the same time, Peskov said he had no information on who these provocateurs were.