Allegations that the banned opposition camp in downtown Moscow bred crime and disorder are untrue and politically motivated, opposition lawmaker Dmitry Gudkov said on Tuesday, citing local police.
Gudkov was speaking at an opposition picket by the monument to Karl Marx on Revolution Square, a location proposed as an alternative venue to the camp at Chistoprudny Boulevard, which is to be expelled by a court order.
Only a few dozen activists trickled to the statue of the proletariat guru to listen to Gudkov, while most protesters chose to bide their time until police’s arrival on Chistoprudny by the monument to Kazakh poet Abai Qunanbaiuli, who provided the camp with the ironic Twitter hash tag, #OccupyAbai.
A district court in Moscow said on Tuesday the Abai camp should be dismissed because it disturbs the locals and did 20 million rubles ($650,000) worth damage to local greenery, consisting of feeble grass and some shrubs and trees.
But Gudkov dismissed the allegations, speaking at the feet of Karl Marx.
“The police officers and thanked us just today because there is less crime in the area now, and no more drug addicts on the boulevard,” Gudkov said. He did not identify the officers.
He said the protesters will decide on the course of action when they are presented with the actual court order.
“We’ll move to some other place,” fellow opposition activist Ilya Yashin said, also in the shadow of Karl Marx.
City officials said they will allow no more camps like the one by the Abai monument. When asked about it by RIA Novosti, Yashin said that such crackdowns will only irk the protesters, sparking further street action.
“They’ll continue the crackdown…but they’ll get the opposite result,” agreed Vladimir Matveyev, an elderly geodesist who came to the Revolution Square to listen to Gudkov and Yashin.
Matveyev said that was not able to find the time to attend the #OccupyAbai camp, but that he was at previous mass protest rallies in Moscow. He said plans to go on with the protests.