Opposition MPs to Walk Out on Public Order Bill

Opposition MPs may walk out of parliament when the lower house debates a bill on Friday to stiffen penalties for breaching restrictions on public demonstrations, a Communist Party lawmaker said.

Vladimir Kashin said the three opposition factions, including the Communists, A Just Russia party and the Liberal Democratic party, have denounced the proposed bill as “repressive.”

“It would allow the law enforcement agencies to interpret at will what consists violations in protesters’ numbers or clothes,” Kashin told reporters on Thursday. “All the three factions have indicated their intention to leave the chamber on Friday.”

The bill stipulates raising fines for violating public demonstrations regulations to 1.5 million rubles (more than $48,000) from the current 1,000 rubles (about $30).

The motion comes as opposition activists continue to occupy a downtown Moscow square in protest at what they say were rigged presidential elections in March, which saw Vladimir Putin returned for a third term in office after a four year interregnum as prime minister.

Riot police swooped on the park next to a landmark neo-classical Stalin-era tower late on Wednesday, making more than 30 arrests.

Activists had moved to Moscow’s Kudrinskaya Square site after police removed a week-long Occupy-style encampment at a different location in Moscow in the early hourse of Wednesday, briefly detaining over 20 people.


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