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City Hall Suggests Alternative Route for Dec. 15 Protest

City Hall has rejected both routes proposed by opposition leaders for the March of Freedom demonstration on Dec. 15, Left Front leader Sergei Udaltsov said.

City officials gave no explanation for their refusal, Udaltsov wrote on Twitter on Tuesday, saying authorities had suggested that protesters instead march from Pushkin Square to Prospekt Sakharova via the inner side of the Bulvar Ring — the same route that the March of Millions protest followed on Sep. 15.

Udaltsov told Interfax that rally organizers "do not agree with the new route proposed by the authorities" and that they would push for permission to process down Ulitsa Novokuznetskaya as far as Lubyanskaya Ploshchad.

Lubyanskaya Ploshchad is of particular significance to the opposition because, as the site of the former headquarters of the KGB, "it is historically associated with political repression, which has started occurring more and more against the protest movement," Udaltsov said.

On Friday, organizers submitted an official request to City Hall to hold a march and rally for a maximum of 50,000 people, listing prominent opposition figures including ousted lawmaker Gennady Gudkov, nationalist leader Vladimir Tor and Coordination Council leader Mikhail Gelfand as event organizers.

Udaltsov and Solidarity activist Nadezhda Mityushkina were tasked with negotiating with authorities over the demonstration, which is timed to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the anti-Kremlin protest movement.

Under Russian law, protests have to be sanctioned by authorities for a specific place, time and number of participants.

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