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Moscow Police Say They Will Break Up All Protest Walks That Do Not Have Official Permission

Source: (info), 18/05/12

· Right of assembly  · Ministry of Internal Affairs  · Persecution of Activists  · Public protests  · Moscow city & Moscow region

Interfax, citing the main press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for Moscow, reported on 17 May that Moscow police have insistently recommended that musicians and other citizens should obtain permission from the city authorities for any planned ‘protest walks’, as the artists have already done for a walk due to take place on 19 May.

"Organizers of the artists’ event obtained permission from City Hall through the department of culture, which made it possible for the route to be agreed in advance and to prepare measures to ensure the safety of participants in the walk,” Interfax was told.

At the same time he stressed that the musicians who had earlier also announced their intention to conduct a “test walk”, according to information available to the police, have not yet requested official permission.

Moscow prosecutors have also issued a warning to the organizers of the event that has been given the provisional name “Nomadic Museum of Contemporary Art”, which artists plan to hold in the capital city, reports, citing Interfax.

The prosecutors from Moscow’s Central Administrative District sent Yury Samodurov, one of the initiators of the event, a formal warning.

The artists plan to hold the event on 19 May as part of a national event, “Night in the Museum”. Twenty-five artists intend to transport their works in handcarts along the Sretensky, Rozhdestvensky, Petrovsky and Chistoprudsky boulevards, with a possible stop in the courtyard of the Moscow Museum of Contemporary Art on Petrovka Street, if the museum management agree.

On the same day musicians intend to conduct their own “walk”.

One of the organizers of the walk, the musical critic Artem Troitsky, explained their refusal to ask permission for the event from City Hall: “That is the very reason why this walk is a ‘test walk’, because the artists and others are testing the authorities for compliance with the law and the Constitution.”

Earlier, on 13 May, a “test walk” organized by the writer Boris Akunin took place in Moscow. According to various estimates the number of participants was between 15,000 and 30,000.