Six activists of the "Strategy 31" movement, an opposition campaign against alleged official restrictions on freedom of assembly as proclaimed by Article 31 of the Russian Constitution, were arrested in the center of St. Petersburg on Saturday, a spokesman for the city police authority said.
"The detainees will stay at the police station till the start of a court session on Monday, as many of them have been prosecuted for similar offenses in the past and have unpaid fines on their record," the spokesman told Interfax.
Activists have been trying to hold "Strategy 31" events outside the Gostiny Dvor shopping center on Nevsky Prospekt, the main street of St. Petersburg, at 6 p.m. on the 31st day of every 31-day month. The city administration usually organizes various cultural events to be held on the same site at the same time.
By 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, practically the entire section of the sidewalk in front of Gostiny Dvor had been barricaded off and cordoned off by police and volunteer guards as a patriotic song concert was in progress on it.
However, during an interval between songs, several opposition activists managed to break through onto the concert site, cried out slogans and scattered leaflets around, but were arrested promptly. The organizers of this sortie said the latter was a protest against new legal restrictions on rallies.
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