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Moscow police detain Russians holding "invisible placards" of protest near the Kremlin on April 6.
In Russia, even raising your hands in public can get you detained these days, as protesters in Moscow discovered over the weekend.

Police in the capital detained a group of demonstrators near the Kremlin on April 6, several of whom were holding up what they called “invisible placards” calling for the release of seven demonstrators sentenced to prison in the Bolotanaya protest case in February.

After some of the protesters holding actual signs were hauled off by police, one of six demonstrators holding her arms up explained to the small crowd on Manezhnaya Square that police could not detain them because their placards were invisible.

It was the latest in a number of protests by Kremlin opponents who have turned to borderline absurdist demonstrations seemingly to dare authorities to arrest them for innocuous and legal public activities.

One prominent practitioner of this tactic is opposition activist Roman Dobrokhotov. He was detained along with fellow demonstrators in January 2009 while holding up a blank piece of paper with his mouth taped shut outside the Russian government’s headquarters in central Moscow.

In August of that year, Dobrokhotov was detained with his guitar at a protest on Moscow’s Mayakovsky Square while playing and singing “Yellow Submarine” by The Beatles, despite his claim that he had come to the demonstration only to play music.

The “invisible placards” tactic did little to assuage police, who dragged the demonstrators away.

In total, 10 protesters were detained on suspicion of staging an unsanctioned demonstration and released later that night, Ekho Moskvy reported. Other Russian news reports put the number of detainees at 12.

-- Carl Schreck
April 9 marks the 25th anniversary of the 1989 tragic events, when Soviet troops dispersed a peaceful demonstration outside the parliament building in Tbilisi leaving 20 people dead.
The Week Ahead is a detailed listing of key events of the coming week affecting RFE/RL's broadcast region.

Now on Twitter! Daily updates at @The_Week_Ahead.

MONDAY, April 7:

Azerbaijan/Russia: Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov makes an official visit to Baku (to April 8).

Council of Europe: The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) plenary session opens in Strasbourg (to April 11).

U.S./South Caucasus: German Marshall Fund of the United States in Washington hosts a discussion titled "South Caucasus: The Dividing Lines Are Shifting."

WHO: World Health Day.

Ukraine: UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues Rita Izsak visits Ukraine to gather first-hand information from minority communities in the country (to April 13).


TUESDAY, April 8:

Armenia/CIS: Yerevan hosts a Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Air Defense Coordination Council meeting.

Azerbaijan/CIS: Baku hosts a Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Chiefs of Staff Committee meeting.

Bosnia-Herzegovina: Croatian President Ivo Josipovic visits Mostar and Sarajevo (to April 9).

Iran: Iran and world powers hold a new round of nuclear talks in Vienna (to April 9).

Moldova: UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Flavia Pansieri visits Chisinau and Tiraspol (to April 11).


World: International Roma Day.


WEDNESDAY, April 9:

Georgia
: The 25th anniversary of the 1989 tragic events, when Soviet troops dispersed a peaceful demonstration outside the parliament building in Tbilisi leaving 20 people dead.



Russia/U.S.: Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov visits Washington (to April 11).

Ukraine/CoE: The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) is scheduled to discuss the situation in Ukraine during its plenary session in Strasbourg.


THURSDAY, April 10:

Moldova: Next round of 5+2 talks on the Transdniester conflict settlement is scheduled to begin in Vienna (to April 11).

Russia/CoE: The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) is scheduled to reconsider the already ratified credentials of the delegation of the Russian Federation during its plenary session in Strasbourg.


FRIDAY, April 11:

Czech Republic
: EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fuele participates in the conference in Prague titled "Ten years since the EU Enlargement to the East."


SATURDAY, April 12:

UN
: International Day of Human Space Flight.


SUNDAY, April 13:

Macedonia
: Presidential election.

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About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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