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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

EU human rights committee to monitor Moscow protest

RIA Novosti

15:09 31/08/2010 MOSCOW, August 31 (RIA Novosti) - A delegation from the European Parliament's Subcommittee on Human Rights has arrived in Moscow to monitor an opposition demonstration on Tuesday, the head of the subcommittee said.

Russian opposition groups hold Marches of Dissent on the last day of each 31-day-month in defense of their right to freedom of assembly, as enshrined in Article 31 of the Russian Constitution.

The Moscow city authorities have regularly turned down requests from the Russian opposition to stage the rallies and recently announced plans to close the opposition's main protest site, Triumfalnaya Square, to build an underground car park.

Several unsanctioned rallies on the square have already resulted in clashes with police and the arrests of many opposition members. On July 31, around 75 of the 200 protesters taking part in a rally on the square were hauled away in police vans, while on May 31, 200 protesters were detained, including several people with disabilities and a World War II veteran.

Human rights activist Lyudmila Alexeyeva said last week that the opposition would gather on Tuesday on Triumfalnaya Square but would not stage a protest.

During their stay in Moscow, the EU delegation will meet with representatives of Russia's governmental and non-governmental human rights organizations and attend a court hearing on the Mikhail Khodorkovsky case.

They will then travel to the Russian North Caucasus town of Beslan to take part in a commemoration ceremony for the victims of the September 2004 tragedy.

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