Moscow surrounded: Holding hands ‘for fair elections’

An opposition flashmob supporting fair elections, the Big White Ring, is due to hit Moscow on Sunday. Thousands of people will create a circular human chain, standing along the Garden Ring road in central Moscow, holding their hands in solidarity.

­“We have been on Bolotnaya [Square rally] and Sakharova [Boulevard rally],” says the Facebook page for the event. “Our demands have yet to be met. That is why we will come again.”

The flashmob is due to start at 2 pm Moscow time (10:00 GMT). Organizers say that it should not be considered a rally.

“This day we gather without banners, slogans and speeches. We will stand and keep silent, shoulder by shoulder, hand by hand,” the announcement reads. “We will create our common White Ring which we will conclude in the central Moscow, around the Kremlin.”

Over 14,000 people have signed up for the event and about 3,000 more are “possibly attending”. According to the activists, it is necessary for 34,000 people to show up in order to completely encircle the Garden Ring. Through the website the people could pick a convenient Metro station along the road and reserve a spot.

The action is not coordinated by any particular group and comes from within the community, said Sergey Parkhomenko, who organized recent protests for fair elections in Moscow.

“People are the main initiators, as much as it was with the event White Ring,” he said. “Such events are good because they have neither beginning nor ending, neither head or tail, neither organizers nor sponsors. They depend on people who decide to gather.”

The Moscow mayor’s office said that the flashmob does not need to be coordinated with the city authorities. However, the participants have been warned not to disrupt city traffic.

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