Moscow: The Moscow authorities have allowed
a protest by the Russian opposition on February 4, which will
pose a new challenge to Vladimir Putin a month ahead of
presidential polls, officials said on Thursday.
The city hall has sanctioned a protest march south of the
Moscow river mustering up to 50,000 people from midday to 3:00
pm local time, deputy Moscow mayor Alexander Gorbenko told the
Interfax news agency.
"The city hall has agreed to one of the variants put
forward (by the opposition) that is acceptable to both sides,"
The demonstration will follow two mass protests on
December 10 and December 24 against the conduct of
parliamentary elections that mustered tens of thousands of
people and showed growing discontent with the rule of Putin.
The protest will see demonstrators march from Bolshaya
Yakimanka street in the south of the centre of the Russian
capital to Bolotnaya Square just opposite the Kremlin walls
over the Moscow river.
It will come ahead of presidential elections on March 4
where Putin is standing for a third Kremlin term after his
four year stint as prime minister, in defiance of opposition
warnings he has been in power too long.
One of the organisers of the new protest meeting,
journalist Sergei Parkhomenko, described the arrangements as a
"compromise" that would be acceptable both to the opposition
and the city authorities.
He told Interfax the date of the protest was "symbolic"
as it also would come two months after the December 4
parliamentary elections that sparked the mass rallies that
have smashed the taboo against protests in Putin`s Russia.