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Boris Akunin Organizes “Test Walk” along Moscow Boulevards

Source: HRO.org (info), 10/05/12

· Right of assembly  · Public protests  · Moscow city & Moscow region

On the initiative of the well-known writer Grigory Chkhartashvili (Boris Akunin) a group of literary figures will walk along Moscow boulevards on 13 May from the Pushkin monument on Pushkin Square to the Griboedov monument at Chistye Prudy. As Chkhartashvili writes in his blog: “The purpose of the experiment is to establish whether after all Muscovites can freely walk about their own city or whether they need to get some kind of special permission.”

Grani.ru reports that among the poets, writers and journalists taking part are Dmitry Bykov, Lev Rubinstein, Sergei Gandlevsky, Ludmila Ulitskaya, Yulia Latynina, Sergei Parkhomenko and Irina Yasina. Other cultural figures taking part include the musicians Andrei Makarevich and Aleksei Kortnev.

The peaceful protest began on the day of the inauguration of Vladimir Putin in the morning after the clashes on Bolotnaya Square. On Monday the special riot police conducted a brutal sweep operation on Tverskaya Street and along the boulevards, detaining approximately 500 people. On the night of Monday-Tuesday, hundreds of Muscovites and activists from other cities held night-time promenades around the monument to the heroes of the battle of Plevna at Kitai-Gorod. The riot police several times tried to push the activists away from that location, and in response they moved to Chistye Prudy. On Tuesday evening the police broke up the tent camp at Chistye Prudy, and brutal sweep operations continued at Kitai-Gorod, Pushkin Square, Tverskaya Street, Nikitskye Voroty, Patriarch Ponds and on the Arbat.

According to the Moscow police information service, by Wednesday morning 317 participants in the “mobile camp” had been detained. The Ministry of Internal Affairs said that 200 people had been detained on Tuesday. Among those detained at Pushkin Square and Patriarch Ponds were the well-known journalists Filipp Bakhtin, Ilya Krasilshchik, Ivan Davydov, Maksim Kvasha, Roman Volobuev, Filipp Dzyadko and Tikhon Dzyadko. In making arrests, the police did not identify themselves or give reasons for their actions. Most of those detained were released after an official report had been drawn up in relation to the administrative offences with which they were charged.

On 9 May in response to a proposal by Sergei Udaltsov, participants in the protests joined in a “Victory March” that had official sanction and was organized by the KPRF from Pushkin Square to the Lubyanka. Various estimates put the number of participants in the march at from 10,000 to 20,000. The police said 3,500 took part. Afterwards the demonstrators again assembled in the area of the Manezh Square, and from there moved back to Chistye Prudy. A large meeting of civil society activists and supporters was planned to take place on Thursday at 19:00.
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