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Protest Organizers Meet to Settle on Demands

Navalny, left, listening to Kasparov at a meeting of the organizational committee for a Feb. 4 opposition march. Anton Golubev

Organizers of Saturday’s opposition rally gathered Tuesday to set an agenda for the mass march — the third major protest since the disputed State Duma elections in December.

The leaders settled on a list of key demands for the rally — urging the release of political prisoners as well as the democratic reform of the current political system, and calling for early and fair parliamentary and presidential elections within two years.

The meeting was hosted by opposition political activist and world-renowned chess champion Gary Kasparov, and was attended by anti-corruption crusader Alexei Navalny and environmental activist Yevgenia Chirikova.

The program for the rally — which will follow a 1.5-kilometer march — has been cut short due to weather, which is forecast to be brutally cold. Chosen by lot, different movements will march in separate sections at the rally with nonpartisan groups going first, liberals second, and right-wing nationalist movements and leftist activists going last, Ekho Moskvy radio station reported.

Thermoses and bottles won’t be allowed at the rally on Bolotnaya Ploshchad, so organizers promised to supply hot drinks for protesters at the site, the Organizational Committee wrote on its Facebook page.

Olga Romanova, who is in charge of the protest’s finances, wrote on Facebook that organizers had so far fallen short of raising the 3 million rubles ($99,600) necessary to supply sound and video equipment. As of Tuesday, organizers had managed to raise only 1.9 million rubles ($63,000). She also said someone “had tried to hack” into the rally’s account.

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