As protests against the alleged violations during Sunday’s Duma polls continue in Moscow, media reports have focused on the fate of a pedestrian bridge across the Moskva River leading to the protest venue.
Built in 1994 during the tenure of ousted mayor Yury Luzhkov and known as “the love bridge,” the Luzhkov Bridge remained a major security concern of the day that had been expected to dominate headlines with riots and high-profile police arrests.
Police said the bridge could collapse any minute as about 1,000 protesters moving toward the Bolotnaya Square, the site of an authorized rally against the elections that brought Premier Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party the slim majority in the lower house.
“Experts said there is a possibility of it collapsing,” the Moscow police said in a statement.
Russia’s chief architect, Andrei Bokov, said the threat was exaggerated.
“In principle, any bridge is designed with a reserve endurance, that is why it is impossible to say that the bridge can collapse from excessive weight,” Bokov said, adding that the only thing that could cause the bridge to collapse would be an explosion.
Police closed the entry onto the bridge from one end, much to the annoyance of protesters who tried to break through the police cordon, but then the bridge was reopened an hour later.
The elaborately decorated bridge is a favorite site among Tretyakov Picture Gallery goers and newlyweds, who hang “love locks” on a metal “tree of love” in the hope for a long-lasting and stable marriage.