Legislative power toughens responsibility for protest and executive power already persecutes freethinkers for wearing T-shirts and drawing on asphalt

ADC ‘Memorial’ opposes restrictions of freedom of assembly and freedom of expression for citizens of the Russian Federation.
On 6 June, 2012 Federation Council of Russia approved changes in legislation which toughen rules for conducting demonstrations and strengthen responsibility for violations during public events: a new punishment, ‘compulsory community service’, appears in Administrative Code, and fines for violations during public events increase to 300.000 rubles for citizens and 1 million rubles for organizations. Additional demands for organizers of public events (now those who were detained more than once for any administrative violation during public event (articles 5.38, 19.3, 20.1 – 20.3, 20.18, 20.29) cannot be organizers of public events) make conducting protest demonstrations be nearly unreal within the law. At the same time a punishment for organizing unsanctioned mass actions ,such as ‘mass gathering of people’, appears and allows to consider any public action illegal, no matter what kind of action it is, – ‘walks’ with writers and poets or artists, street discussions or something else.
Thus, legislative power ‘formalizes’ practice of constant violations of freedom of assembly, that has already formed and strengthened in Russia for recent months of numerous protest actions. In Saint-Petersburg absolute absence of right for peaceful protest was demonstrated on the very day of approving amendments by State Duma: on June 5 near the building of Legislative Assembly of Saint-Petersburg several persons tried to ‘draw a demonstration’ with chalk on asphalt. They hardly started drawing when they were detained by the police and had to spend a night in police station and were brought to administrative responsibility for refuse to stop ‘unsanctioned’ drawing.
On the same day in Moscow people, wearing white T-shirts and walking along the streets, were accused in ‘disobedience to demands of the police’. Absurdity of such actions as well as many other cases of bringing to responsibility for peaceful protest actions on base of fake accusations (such as ‘unsanctioned symbols’, violation of laws of ‘public services and amenities’, ‘illegal’ balloons), together with obvious discriminatory actions of representatives of power show growth of persecution of the opposition.
In this situation toughening of legislation of public events even underlines illegal way of actions by authorities and growth of repressions.
Justification of violation of right of freedom of assembly is inadmissible.
It’s necessary to protect the right of expression, protest, criticism of power.

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