St. Petersburg nationalist rally demanded revision of the court sentence for wrestler Mirzayev

A nationalist rally in St. Petersburg on Saturday that protested new tighter rules on the possession of firearms and demanded revision of the court sentence for athlete Rasul Mirzayev, a manslaughter convict, brought together relatively few people and involved no excesses, an Interfax correspondent reported.

Witnesses put the turnout at about 40. The rally had been permitted by the authorities.

Initially, the sole purpose of the meeting as stated in the organizers' application for official permission for it was to protest the stricter rules on the possession of weapons.

However, it was decided to put the Mirzayev case at the top of the agenda after the martial arts athlete, who had punched a young man to death in a fight outside a nightclub in Moscow, was sentenced to two years in prison and released as he had stayed longer than that in pretrial detention.

The organizers decided not to drop the weapons rules issue to avoid accusations of illegal departure from the stated agenda. During the rally, an official warned those present that the organizers would face legal action if the stated agenda was not followed.

Interfax has not been able to obtain information on whether legal proceedings were launched against any of the participants.

One of those present held a black-yellow- white Russian imperial flag, and some of those present had black-yellow-white ribbons attached to their clothes.

The organizers included the St. Petersburg Civil Committee and the Russian March Organizing Committee.

The rally passed a resolution that mainly attacked the weapons restrictions but included a demand for revising the Mirzayev affair.

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