Russian opposition member Udaltsov vows to broaden agenda of weekend rallies

The issue of criminal investigations recently started against Russian opposition activists will be raised in speeches to be delivered at October 20-21 rallies in support of elections to the opposition's Coordination Council, Left Front leader Sergei Udaltsov said.

"We have agreed to expand our agenda: apart from offering an opportunity to vote, [the rallies] will bring up the issue of political prisoners, the opening of a new criminal case into claims of mass riots organization, Konstantin Lebedev's arrest, and a new arrest as part of the Bolotnaya [Square] case," he told Interfax after a session of the Russian protest movement's organizing committee on Thursday.

"We need to increase the protection of our comrades," Udaltsov said.

Members of different public forces, except for candidates seeking to join the Coordination Council, will address the events, he said.

"People will speak about the situation with political prisoners, the elections to the council and its goals," he said.

Moscow City Hall said earlier that it would draw conclusions if the opposition decided to change the format and the aim of its rally, which was permitted by the city authorities and was expected to take place on Trubnaya Square on Oct. 20.

"When applying for permission, the organizers stated their goal. If the event fails to match the proclaimed goal, analysis will be conducted and a certain assessment will be given to the action. But it will be done after the event is over," Alexei Mayorov, director of the Moscow government's regional security department, told Interfax on Wednesday.

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