Russian Police Say Nyet To New Years Eve Protest

About 25 people have been arrested in Moscow on Monday for protesting without authorization.

Triumfalnaya Square in central Moscow on New Year’s Eve hosted a protest which attracted 50 to 100 people. Among the arrested was Eduard Limonov, a writer and opposition leader of the OtherRussia movement. The Interfax news agency reported activists saying about 25 people have been removed by police, says The Guardian.

After several talks with Moscow’s city authorities, the opposition failed to get a permit for its March of Freedom planned for December 15, but they did it today anyway. Sergei Udaltsov, the Left Front coordinator, who is accused of plotting mass riots throughout Russia, said:

“The talks have ended in nothing. We have been offered to hold the action where the Mayor’s Office wants but we are not happy with it. Otherwise, the action will not be authorized.”

The Strategy 31 movement has held unauthorized protests on the last day of every month with 31 days two years running. Strategy 31 is a reference to article 31 of the Russian constitution that guarantees free assembly. Authorities regularly decline permission for the protests, and Limonov’s faction has had disagreements with other elements of the opposition to President Vladimir Putin last year.

In his New Year’s Eve address, Putin did not make references to protests of the past year, mentioning only those of 2012 “it was very important to us,” according to the Itar-Tass news agency.

Putin mentioned:

“We believe that we can change the life around us and become better ourselves, that we can become more heedful, compassionate, gracious.”

Putin continued to claim Russia’s fate “depends on our enthusiasm and labor.”