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Moscow Officials To Allow ‘Strategy 31’ Protest

Alekseyeva says a maximum of 1,000 activists will be allowed to take part.
MOSCOW -- Moscow city authorities have approved a request by human rights activists to hold a demonstration in support of freedom of assembly, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Moscow Helsinki Group Chairwoman Lyudmila Alekseyeva said a maximum of 1,000 activists will be allowed to take part in the public action, being held by the “Strategy 31” movement, on Moscow's Triumph Square on January 31.

Strategy 31 is a campaign in support of freedom of assembly -- which is guaranteed by Article 31 of the Russian Constitution -- by holding a demonstration on the last day of months that have 31 days.

The campaign was launched in 2009 by Eduard Limonov, a leader of the Other Russia opposition coalition. Other opposition groups and rights activists later joined.

Limonov and Alekseyeva split in October 2010 after the latter agreed to Moscow authorities' request to limit the number of demonstrators at the protests. Limonov accused her of collaborating with officials.

The Moscow mayor's office has declined Limonov's request to hold a similar action on Triumph Square on January 31. But Limonov said he and his supporters will gather on the square in spite of authorities' refusal to sanction the gathering.

Alekseyeva and Limonov held separate gatherings on December 31. Police detained 68 activists -- including Limonov and prominent opposition figures Boris Nemtsov and Ilya Yashin -- all of whom were given sentences of up to 15 days in jail.

Read in Russian here