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Protest meeting against the law on the virtual ban on referenda

Press realease
On May 2 a mass-scale protest action against the law on the virtual ban of referenda took place by the building of the State Duma of the RF. The action ended in a scuffle between the participants of the meeting and the police.

Deputy Head of the YABLOKO party Sergei Mitrokhin, deputy of the State Duma and member of the YABLOKO party Sergei Popov, deputy of the Duma and Deputy Chair of the Central Committee of the CPRF Ivan Melnikov, deputy of the State Duma and First Secretary of the Moscow City Committee of the CPRF Alexander Kuvayaev, deputies of the Duma Alexander Kravets and Anatoli Lokot' (CPRF), representatives of the collation "Za Pravo Vibora"("For the Right to Choose") and ecological organisations "Ecozaschita" ('Ecological Protection") and "Khraniteli Radugi" ("Rainbow Keepers") and human rights activists took part in the protest action.

The action began at 9-45 a.m. Before the meeting the police barred all the passages to the building of the Duma, therefore the activists gathered at the corner of Tverskaya and Mokhovaya streets. They held banners reading "No to the Authority's Disgrace!", "Protect Democracy!", "No to a Police State!" and "Respect the Constitution!".

"The marionette majority of the Duma tries to finally make people shut up with the help of such a law, said Sergei Mitrokhin. - It is important that today political forces representing different ideologies have gathered at the meeting today. It is time to create a single front of opposition against the police state and authoritarian rule!"

Sergei Mitrokhin also said that the activists forwarded a notification of their intention to conduct a meeting to the head of Central District of Moscow as early as on May 31, and that is why the representatives of the parties participating in the meeting consider it lawful.

"One feature of the authoritarian rule is the facade approach. It seems like there are elections, but these not the real elections, said Ivan Melnikov. – A referendum is not banned but it will be virtually impossible to hold one. The authorities have chosen not to listen to either political opponents or public opinion."

It was decided during the meeting to peacefully approach the main entrance into the Duma to voice the protest there. However, here the participants of the meeting were at once attacked by the police and the Federal Security Service.

The police rudely grasped deputy of the Duma Alexander Kuvayaev and young members of "YABLOKO" and representatives of the young communists. A scuffle took place. The police and representatives of the Federal Security Service also pushed away journalists and confiscated their cameras. Some participants of the action and journalists were beaten up by the police.

At present three young members of "YABLOKO" and a representative of the young communists who says he was beaten in the police bus are detained. All the detainees are kept at Interior Ministry Department "Tverskoye"; lawyer of party "YABLOKO" has already headed for the department. The detainees are accused of showing resistance to the police.

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