BARNAUL, Russia -- Authorities in the Siberian city of Barnaul have declared it is now illegal to organize antigovernment demonstrations using toy collections -- unless such protests have received permission from officials in advance.
Activists in Barnaul twice last month organized protests in which hundreds of teddy bears, Transformer toys, and Lego figurines bearing anti-Kremlin slogans and calling for fair elections were displayed in the city's main square.
Using this tactic, the activists managed to avoid possible prosecution for violating laws on unapproved public gatherings.
Barnaul deputy police chief Andrei Mulintsev told journalists on February 10 that from now on, organizers of toy demonstrations must obtain official permission from local authorities to do so.
Otherwise, they could be held accountable for breaking the law.