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City Police Warn Protesters on Eve of March

City police warned Muscovites on Friday that any unsanctioned protests in the city center would be broken up over the weekend.

The police warning comes on the eve of the March of Freedom, an anti-government demonstration timed to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the protest movement. Organizers failed to secure permission for the protest after more than a week of protracted talks.

March organizers had sought to end their demonstration on Lubyanskaya Ploshchad, a location chosen for its symbolic significance as the former home of the Soviet security services, but City Hall would only sanction a protest further from the Kremlin. Both sides blamed the other for the breakdown in talks.

In their statement on Friday, police said that those who violate the law over the weekend would be brought to justice, advising Moscow residents not to give in to "provocation."

Prominent opposition figures including Left Front leader Sergei Udaltsov and anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny have said that they will attend the unsanctioned March of Freedom. Both have been repeatedly detained at previous anti-government demonstrations.

"I will go to Lubyankskaya Ploshchad at 3 p.m. on December 15. As a free citizen of Russia. And no one can forbid me from going," Udaltsov tweeted Thursday.

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