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Opposition to Hold Weekly Protests in Support of Arrested Activists

Activists protesting outside the Investigative Committee at the last unsanctioned picket on Aug. 2. Anton Belitsky

Opposition activists plan to picket the Investigative Committee on Thursday, and organizers say they will hold similar demonstrations every week until fellow activists arrested for unrest at a May 6 protest are released.

Left Front leader Sergei Udaltsov told Interfax that protest organizers hadn't sought authorities' permission for the picket, which is required by law, since their last request to protest was ignored.

As a result, protesters will formally gather for a meeting with their State Duma deputy, a public event that doesn't require official authorization, the opposition firebrand said, without elaborating on which State Duma deputy would attend.

On Aug. 2, the last time opposition activists picketed investigators' headquarters without permission, police neither interfered with the demonstrations nor detained protesters. The decision to hold the weekly pickets was taken at an opposition rally July 26, Udaltsov told the news agency.

Through the pickets, Udaltsov and fellow protesters are seeking to draw attention to the 14 opposition activists either detained or charged with taking part in violence at a sanctioned rally on Bolotnaya Ploshchad on May 6, the eve of President Vladimir Putin's inauguration.

The political opposition claims the charges are fabricated, while observers have speculated that the arrests are intended as a warning shot to those taking part in street demonstrations.

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