Moscow Protest Location Changed, Raising Fear of Arrests
- Author: Zachary Reyes Jun 12, 2017,
Jun 12, 2017, 14:51
He said the Moscow protest was being moved to the central Tverskaya Street, which leads to the Kremlin, because authorities allegedly pressured providers of audio, video, and stage equipment not to work with the organizers.
The protests in March took place in scores of cities across the country, the largest show of discontent in years and a challenge to President Vladimir Putin's dominance of the country.
Rallies have been planned in 169 different locations for Russia Day, a national holiday, on Monday (12 June).
President Vladimir Putin vowed to punish people who broke the law after an estimated 60,000 people protested in March at anti-corruption rallies organized by Navalny that were mostly unsanctioned in 80 cities across Russian Federation, the biggest unrest in five years.
"I want changes", wrote Navalny.
Reuters witnesses saw a police vehicle leaving Mr Navalny's apartment compound at high speed, followed a few minutes later by a minibus carrying around 10 policemen.
The area of Tsverskaya Street near where Navalny's supporters were planning to hold their protest was hosting an officially-organised historical festival, with actors re-enacting periods of Russian history with props such as World War Two jeeps and artillery guns.
It warned that authorities would take all necessary measures to prevent provocations or any action threatening public security.
Navalny has announced his candidacy for the presidential election in 2018.
"We warn that any attempts to hold an illegal event on the Tverskaya Street, Moscow is a direct violation of the law", the Prosecutor General said in a statement.
It comes as small numbers of protesters were detained as they exited a metro station in central Moscow, witnesses told Reuters. His report on alleged corruption connected to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was the focus of the March protests.
"When we first met he was a moderate Russian nationalist", says rights campaigner Olga Romanova, who has known Navalny for years, likening him to France's Marine Le Pen.
Although city authorities had agreed to a location for the gathering that is to be the centerpiece of Monday's protests, Navalny called for it to be moved to one of Moscow's main thoroughfares. "I want to live in a modern democratic state and I want our taxes to be converted into roads, schools and hospitals, not into yachts, palaces and vineyards".