Moscow government to permit opposition demos - on conditions
For the first time, Moscow officials have agreed to an anti-government demonstration, but under conditions severely restricting the number of participants, opposition figures said Wednesday, DPA reported.
Lyudmila Alexeyeva, 83, head of the Moscow chapter of the human rights organisation Helsinki Group, said officials have agreed to permit 200 demonstrators take part in the next rally at Moscow's Triumphal Square.
The opposition had sought permission for 1,500 participants.
"It is a victory, but one with tears in our eyes," Alexeyeva said. "What should I do with the people who come despite (the restriction) - throw them out?"
The anti-government camp has been staging rallies on the 31st day of each month - a reference to Article 31 of the Russian constitution guaranteeing freedom of assembly - at the square.
But each time, security forces moved in to arrest and carry off dozens of demonstrators, often with brutal methods which foreign observers sharply criticized.
Both Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and the designated new Moscow mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, had called for more moderate methods against the opposition demonstrators.