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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Moscow opposition rally will 'test Russian democracy'

RIA Novosti

21:24 26/10/2010 MOSCOW, October 26 (RIA Novosti) - Sunday's opposition rally in central Moscow will provide the authorities with the chance to prove their respect for the country's constitution, Council Of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg said on Tuesday.

Opposition protests in Triumfalmaya Square were unexpectedly given the green light last week shortly after new Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin took office.

"Sunday 31 October will be a test for the effectiveness in practice of the right to peaceful assembly, which is enshrined in Article 31 of the Russian Constitution," Hammarberg wrote in his official blog.

Rights activists' earlier attempts to hold rallies at the square on the last day of every month that has 31 days, in honor of Article 31 of the Russian Constitution, which guarantees freedom of assembly, were invariably broken up by riot police.

Permission has been given for 800 demonstrators and 200 journalists to attend the rally. The majority of Moscow's opposition figures have accepted the conditions, leading activist Lyudmila Alexeyeva said earlier on Tuesday.

"The right to peaceful freedom of assembly is a fundamental right in a democratic society. This right belongs to all people, not just to the majority or to those advocating views pleasing to those in power," Hammarberg said.

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