Moscow allows human rights activists to rally on Jan. 31

Article 31 Protest with Elderly Woman Holding Up Handmade Sign Saying 31MOSCOW, January 21 (RIA Novosti) - The Moscow city government has approved a rally by human rights activists on January 31, rights veteran Lyudmila Alexeyeva said on Friday.

Russian opposition members and human rights activists rally on the last day of every month with 31 days, in honor of Article 31 of the Russian Constitution, which guarantees freedom of assembly.
Image adapted from original copyright (c) 2011. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036

The city authorities granted permission for 1,000 people to rally on the square at the end of January, despite a request for 1,500 people to take part.

A separate application made by Another Russia Party leader Eduard Limonov, requesting a rally of 2,500 people, was turned down by the authorities.

Requests to sanction the rallies were invariably turned down by former Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov, who was sacked by President Dmitry Medvedev in September. Current Mayor Sergei Sobyanin sanctioned rallies in October and December, but has consistently granted permission for fewer protesters than requested.

Two opposition rallies - one sanctioned and one not, were held on Triumfalnaya Square on December 31. Some 70 people, including Limonov and opposition leader Boris Nemtsov were arrested and convicted to jail terms, varying from 10 to 15 days.

"All the detentions were made after people were leaving the rally. We will prevent these detentions on January 31," Alexeyeva said.

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