Moscow police say Limonov rally out of question

Moscow police have said they will not allow radical opposition leader Eduard Limonov to stage a banned anti-Kremlin rally on Triumfalnaya Square on Thursday.

Limonov, who has faced off with fellow activists over the Strategy 31 cause, was denied approval even as Lyudmila Alexeyeva, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group, was given the go-ahead for a 3,000-strong rally on nearby Pushkinskaya Square.

Limonov said he would organize the rally regardless of City Hall’s rejection of his application to hold his alternative event.

“Given Limonov’s repeated calls in the mass media, police will have every right to detain Limonov and other provocateurs,” Moscow police spokesman Viktor Biryukov told reporters on Wednesday.

Limonov previously accused Alexeyeva of sucking up to the Kremlin by agreeing to its demands and betraying the cause of Strategy 31, a civic movement that emerged two years ago to defend Article 31 of Russia’s much-abused Constitution, which guarantees the right to public assembly.

But in a move that would probably have long-running implications, Alexeyeva and fellow human rights activist Lev Ponomarev declared an end to Strategy 31 earlier this week.

“I think it’s silly to call for free assembly at a rally that has been authorized,” Ponomarev wrote on his blog on the opposition website on Monday.

Opposition protests would still be held “on a regular basis,” he said.

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