MOSCOW -- Three Russian activists and a journalist protesting the special traffic sirens used by some high-ranking officials have been arrested in Moscow, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.
Federation of Russian Car Owners (FAR) head Sergei Kanayev was one of those detained. Kanayev and two of his associates held placards saying "Sirens Are Russia's Shame," "A Real Man Does Not Need a Siren," and "Servant of the People, Get Rid of [Your] Siren!"
The activists were standing 50 meters apart on Moscow's Kutuzov Avenue. Under
Russian law, if protesters stand 50 meters away from each other the action is not considered a mass gathering and there is therefore no need to obtain preliminary permission.
FAR has been organizing anti-siren actions for more than one year. High-ranking officials and executives have caused numerous deadly traffic crashes across Russia in recent years by ignoring speed limits and traffic regulations while driving vehicles with sirens on.
Police officers, one of whom introduced himself as Colonel Valery Motorin, approached the protesters, RFE/RL reported.
Motorin said that independent journalist Andrei Filin was helping one of the protesters to hold a placard, and so the protest qualified as a mass gathering. He then ordered the other police officers to arrest all three protesters and the journalist.
Kanayev told RFE/REL later that they were taken to a police station where their arrest was documented and they were told they had violated the law on mass gatherings. Kanayev said that he, his associates, and the journalist were subsequently released and told their trial is scheduled for next week.
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