Opposition Applies to Hold 'March of Millions' on Sept. 15

MTFrom left, activists Dmitry Gudkov, Sergei Udaltsov, Yevgenia Chirikova, Boris Nemstov and Gennady Gudkov at an opposition rally on June 12.

Opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov announced Friday that protest organizers have applied to hold a march in central Moscow on Sept. 15, calling it their "fall offensive" on the government.

The march will be the first major opposition event since a peaceful procession around the Boulevard Ring on June 12 that drew tens of thousands of demonstrators who denounced the rule of President Vladimir Putin.

Next month's event will test the opposition's ability to draw large crowds into the streets again after a summer hiatus from mass protests.

Udaltsov wrote on Twitter that an application had been submitted to City Hall at 8 a.m. Friday for a "March of Millions" along Tverskaya Ulitsa and Mokhavaya Ulitsa next to the Kremlin. He wrote that the application had stipulated a maximum of 50,000 participants for the event to be held Saturday, Sept. 15.

Udaltsov wrote that organizers expected to receive a response from city authorities within three days.

Calling it the "main political event of the fall," the opposition leader wrote that demonstrators would call for early elections and an end to political repression.

A statement on Left Front's website announcing the event says participants will also call for Putin's resignation and passage of a new elections law, among other demands.

The statement said anti-government protests could be held in 50 to 60 cities across Russia the same day.

It did not mention jailed members of female punk band Pussy Riot, but calls to free the three women sentenced to two years in prison for performing an anti-Putin song in a church will almost certainly be made at the event as well.

Opposition leaders have applied before to hold protests on Tverskaya Ulitsa and other venues close to the Kremlin, and City Hall has always told them to pick a different location.

Udaltsov noted that he was not among the official applicants for the march, Interfax reported. Under a law passed earlier this year toughening rules for holding public rallies, no one who has been charged with more than one administrative offense over the past year can apply to hold a demonstration. Udaltsov has been charged with multiple administrative offenses over that period.

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