Mikhail Fedotov promises to resolve the issue of rallies on Triumphal Square

Source: hro.org (info), 14/10/10

· Rights of Assembly

· Protest Actions

The new chair of the Presidential Council on Human Rights, Mikhail Fedotov, has promised to resolve the issue of rallies on Triumphal Square, Interfax reported on 13 October 2010. These rallies do not receive permission from the authorities and are broken up by the police.

"I shall seek to do everything to bring an end to this conflict,” Mikhail Fedotov said.

In his words, conflicts exist not to be made worse, but to be regulated. "How this will be done, I am not ready to say. I am ready to use all possible means to resolve this conflict. What we need is fewer conflicts, not more of them,” Mikhail Fedotov stated.

On 12 October, Mikhail Fedotov, who is a secretary of the Union of Journalists of Russia, was appointed adviser to the President of Russia and chair of the Presidential Council on Civil Society and Human Rights.

On 13 October the Strategy-31 organizing committee called on Mikhail Fedotov to use his influence to protect Triumphal Square as a place for public rallies and demonstrations..

As Kasparov.ru has reported, for more than one year now human rights defenders and activists of opposition movements have been holding rallies on Triumphal Square in defence of Article 31 of the Constitution on the 31st day of the month. Not once have the Moscow authorities given their sanction to these protest rallies and law enforcement officers have brutally broken them up.

On 16 August, the authorities declared Triumphal Square closed for reconstruction.

The reconstruction, as the city officials said, will not be completed before 2012. Moscow authorities intend to build a large-scale multi-level underground car park for 1000 cars to replace surface parking. As a result of the building work a ban has been imposed on holding any public events near the Mayakovsky statue, and the square where the statue stands has been fenced off.

Members of the opposition are certain that the authorities are using the building work to hinder the holding of protest rallies.