Moscow govt turns down request for opposition rally in city center

The opposition's request for staging a demonstration in downtown Moscow on March 1 has been turned down, Solidarity Movement member Sergei Davidis said on Thursday.

The opposition's request for staging a demonstration in downtown Moscow on March 1 has been turned down, Solidarity Movement member Sergei Davidis said on Thursday.

"The City Hall has finally given a written answer to the Vesna [Spring] March notice," he tweeted and posted a photocopy of the document.

The document said that "a march held along the declared route could disrupt operation of public utilities, transport and social infrastructure, impede pedestrian and motor traffic, hinder public access to infrastructure elements, and violate rights of citizens uninvolved in the action."

The document also said that public actions were not permitted on territories surrounding the Kremlin.

Opposition activist Alexei Navalny said he is not against holding the march Vesna in Maryino.

"If we want to keep the two advantages for which we hoped [full authorization and time for campaigning], it can be held in Maryino," Navalny said in his blog.

Navalny believes he finds it strange that "some people say  I will go to rally against war and corruption at Chekhovskaya metro, but I won't go to Maryino metro."

The opposition activist said it is not his personal opinion, but the opinion of the organizational committee and said he is ready to take part in an unauthorized rally.

"Vesna is about time and process, not venue," Navalny said.

The mayor's office has suggested that the opposition activists change the route and hold their march in the Maryino area, in the outskirts of Moscow, instead of on Tverskaya Street, but the opposition activists found that option inappropriate, unacceptable and even insulting. The opposition initially filed a request seeking the authorization of a march scheduled to be held on Tverskaya Street in March (the march was expected to have up to 100,000 participants). The opposition activists said they did not like the Moscow authorities' offer to change the venue of the rally.

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