Protest to go ahead on Russia day ‘regardless of permission’

RIA Novosti/Aleksandr Utkin
An opposition March of Millions could be held in the center of Moscow on Russia’s national holiday whether or not it is sanctioned by the city authorities, the event’s organizers state.

­Head of the Left Front movement Sergey Udaltsov said on Wednesday that the fate of the march will be decided by internet users through a poll rather than by the authorities. If people support the idea of the march, it will take place on June 12 in any case, he explained.

During the demonstration, the opposition intends to adopt a manifesto called Free Russia which it says will become the single program of the protest movement.

Talks with the mayor’s office about holding the march on Russia’s national day have been underway for more than a week. Opposition leaders say they want the march to go along several central streets. For this, traffic should be blocked off, something which the authorities say they cannot do. As an alternative, officials proposed another location in the south-west of the capital, a suggestion which the organizers have flatly rejected. Later, the authorities suggested another itinerary closer to the center but again, this did not suit the opposition.