State Duma approves tougher punishments for "the people's promenades"
MOSCOW, June 5 - RAPSI. The State Duma has approved an amendment proposing to punish organizers of unauthorized rallies under the guise of mass gatherings if they result in public disorder.
Individuals will be punished by a fine of 10,000 rubles ($294) up to 20,000 rubles ($587) or up to 50 hours of community labor, while public officials will be fined from 50,000 ($1,468) to 100,000 rubles ($2,937). Legal entities, on the other hand, will be charged from 200,000 rubles ($5,875) to 300,000 rubles ($8,800). However, in cases where the rally results in physical injuries, then individuals will be punished by a fine from 150,000 rubles ($4,400) to 300,000 rubles ($8,800) or up to 200 hours of community labor, officials - from 300,000 ($8,800) to 600,000 rubles ($)17,600; legal entities - from 500,000 ($14,688) to 1 million rubles ($29,370).
The State Duma voted in favor of the amendment during the second reading of the draft bill on the increase of fines for committing violations at rallies. 238 MPs voted "for" and 154 "against."
After the March of Millions was marred with violence and resulted in clashes with police, the opposition held peaceful protest "promenades" and set up so-called camps. The police is now evicting opposition activists from the camps but they simply move on to other places and recruit more supporters via social networks.
Lawmakers specify in the law that the organizer is considered to be a person who actually runs the rally and performs organizational functions.