Authorities in the Russian capital have suggested moving a protest rally planned for Saturday from Revolution Square, next to the Kremlin, to a location which can hold more people. But opposition leaders have rejected the offer.
Initially, organizers of the demonstration secured permission from city authorities to hold a 300-strong meeting in one of Moscow’s central squares. However, due to security reasons, the authorities have suggested a difference venue – Bolotnaya Square – which can host up to 10,000 people and is also in Moscow’s downtown area, but further from the very center.
Organizers were also offered their choice of any other place for the demonstration – as long as it would be possible to ensure the safety of the participants, said deputy Mayor of Moscow Aleksandr Gorbenko, according to Interfax.
The opposition has rejected the offer, according to one of the leaders of the opposition “Left Front” movement, Anastasia Udaltsova. She said too many people had already been notified about the rally on Revolution Square and there would not be enough time to inform all of them about the relocation.
Udaltsova said that they offered the Moscow government to use the parking space of Revolution Square in order to expand the site for the protest.
The final decision on the venue is expected to come Friday.
Earlier, on Thursday, the Moscow government reminded about the potential consequences of not respecting the registered number of protesters, which is 300 for Saturday’s rally. Now, opposition leaders expect at least 10,000 people to turn up at the square on December 10.
Eduard Limonov, another opposition leader and the head of the unregistered Other Russia party, is also against the change of location.
Opposition supporters have been staging protests since Monday against what they believe to be an unfair parliamentary election. They want the results to be annulled, and a fresh vote to be held.