“Memorial” issues a statement regarding the ban on the March of those in dissent
On 14 April a number of opposition organizations are planning to hold the latest March of those in dissent [marsh nyesoglasnykh] in Moscow. In any democratic country such a march is a normal event. However the Russian State has over recent years been moving further and further away from the principles of democracy and has become ever more cynical in disregarding the rights and freedoms of its citizens. In todays Russia opposition marches are banned and violently dispersed.
The pretext for the ban may be a childrens festival suddenly organized by the city authorities, or just as suddenly begun work on doing up the streets, or concern for the rights of pedestrians and drivers who are supposedly disturbed by the pedestrians.
The overtly non-legal nature of these bans is spurring the participants of street protests to demonstrative refusals to heed such bans. Violence in dispersing demonstrators is becoming the norm. At the same time organizations created and under the patronage of the present authorities, are allowed to use the streets and avenues of Moscow, and of other cities, without any hindrance.
One can have different views regarding the political beliefs and slogans of the organizers and participants of the Marches of those in dissent. Be that as it may, they have the full right to express their political and civic position, including by means of marching along Moscows central streets.
“Memorial” would remind all that one of the main functions of the authorities is to ensure the safety of citizens and would state that the responsibility for any violence which may occur on the streets of Moscow on 14 April in connection with the March of those in dissent will lie with both the Moscow and federal authorities.