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Moscow Students Told To Stay In School During Saturday Protest Rally

Russian police form a cordon ahead of an opposition protest against parliamentary election results in Moscow earlier this week.
Russian media reports say that Moscow city authorities are trying to make high-school students attend school on the afternoon of Saturday, December 10, in an apparent bid to prevent them from joining a mass demonstration against the official results of parliamentary elections on December 4.

The reports said all high-school students, from 9th to 11th grade, and all teachers have been told to be at their schools from early afternoon until late evening, although they are usually free to leave school early in the afternoon on Saturdays.

Speaking on November 8 to Ekho Moskvy radio in Moscow, Aleksandra Lanskaya, the mother of two schoolchildren, said the measure is being taken "to prevent high-school students from joining their parents at the rally in Bolotnaya Square and supporting the slogans that will be heard there. And teachers, who might want to support these slogans, also have to work on this day and be with students. It is perfectly clear."

Election authorities have said Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's United Russia party won nearly half of the votes in the December 4 election.

International election observers, as well as opposition parties, have said the poll was unfair and marred by fraud.

compiled from agency reports