Moscow Mayor’s Office Blocking Opposition Rally to Protest Yarovaya Anti-Terrorism Law

July 22, 2016
Leonid Volkov, speaking in court in defense of himself against charges by a LifeNews reporter that he damaged his microphone in an altercation last year during elections. Photo by RFE/RL

LIVE UPDATES: Leonid Volkov, opposition activist in Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation is accusing the Moscow Mayor’s office of now blocking an opposition rally originally approved.

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Moscow Mayor’s Office Blocking Opposition Rally to Protest Yarovaya Anti-Terrorism Law

Leonid Volkov, an opposition activist in the Anti-Corruption Foundation led by Alexei Navalny and organizer of a rally against the new anti-terrorism laws, is accusing the Moscow Mayor’s office of blocking the protest, Novaya Gazeta reports.

Earlier, the opposition believed they had obtained permission to hold the rally, after agreeing to move the location from the Kitai-Gorod metro stop closer to Red Square to the Yauzskiye Vorota Square, which is further away.

Volkov posted a copy of the letter, which proposed moving the demonstration and limiting the number of participants to 1,000; this implied that the demonstration as such was approved.

Igor Shuvalov, deputy prime minister, was recently the target of Navalny’s group in an expose of the huge amounts he spent ferrying his corgis around in his private airplanes. 

But today, Aleksei Mayorov, head of the department for regional security in the Mayor’s office, said in fact no permission was given because the organizers had failed to provide three signatures for the rally showing the organizer, and two others responsible for first aid and security, respectively. 

Volkov said these signatures were in fact subsequently supplied this morning as the period for application before the event date had not yet expired.

The organizers have sent an appeal of the refusal to court in an administrative suit.

The opposition’s response so far has been to continue to call people to the demonstration.

Translation: The Mayor’s office is trying to cancel the rally against the “Yarovaya law.” That means you have to call your friends even more actively.

A supporter joked that if the opposition was denied a permit for the rally, they should go to the square anyway and catch Pokemon.

Translation: Hah. There next to Shuvalov’s house, and RKN and the Moscow River, a lot of rare evil creatures dwell.

Translation: And of course our most correct reply to the Mayor’s office which has gone mad is to click on the button “I’m going” and share event, and invite your friends.

A page for the event was created on Facebook and currently shows 2,100 people as “going”.

Amendments to Russia’s anti-terrorism law proposed by hardliners Irina Yarovaya and Ozerov were passed by the State Duma on June 24th and signed into law by President Vladimir Putin on July 7. They have drawn criticism from opposition, human rights groups and Internet companies for involving even more surveillance of citizens and requiring Internet service providers and telecoms to retain citizens’ communications and make it available to intelligence without a warrant. 

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick