Mikhail Fedotov Calls New Bill on Rallies a ‘Pandora’s Box’

Source: HRO.org (info), 30/05/12

· Right of assembly  · Persecution of activists  · Public protests

The Presidential Council on Human Rights is to ask the State Duma not to rush with passing a bill increasing the severity of punishments related to the holding of rallies. The letter which the head of the Council Mikhail Fedotov sent on Tuesday 29 May to the chair of the Duma committee on constitutional legislation and state building, Vladimir Piligin, states that if amendments putting in question the right of citizens to peaceful assembly are passed ‘this will only result in the radicalization of the protests.’

Moreover, Mikhail Fedotov believes that if the amendments to the law on rallies are passed they could bring about a ‘general increase in the severity of sanctions’ for other administrative offences – including traffic violations. For this reason Mikhail Fedotov has called the amendments a ‘Pandora’s Box’, Radio Liberty reports.

The next mass protest demonstration is planned for 12 June. In both Moscow and St. Petersburg relevant notifications have been submitted to the authorities.