Several popular Russian musicians say they will not perform at a free concert and food festival in Moscow scheduled this weekend by the city’s mayor and set to coincide with a rally planned by opposition politicians.
Moscow authorities, who announced the event on July 31, say the free barbecue and musical festival, Shashlik Live, will be held on August 3-4 in Gorky Park and that all those who wish to enjoy "meat dishes prepared by Moscow's best restaurants," are invited.
At least two bands listed as performers at Shashlik Live said they are not taking part. Members of Bravo and Tequillajazz wrote on Twitter that their groups will not perform at the event, because they never planned "to have any concerts anywhere on August 3."
Moscow has witnessed several protests since authorities in early July banned several candidates from running in upcoming municipal elections, claiming some of the 5,500 required signatures they collected to get on the ballot were invalid.
Some 1,400 demonstrators were detained by police in a violent crackdown at the latest rally in the Russian capital on July 27.
Opposition and independent candidates to the Moscow city council who were not registered to run in the September 8 poll plan to march along Moscow’s Boulevard Ring on August 3 to protest their exclusion from the elections to the Moscow City Duma.
The planned opposition march has not been approved by city authorities and some fear security officials will again use force to stop the protest.
Dozens of protesters detained in Moscow on July 27 have since been fined or given jail sentences for organizing and participating in the unsanctioned rally.
Several are facing criminal charges for allegedly assaulting police.