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Auction for Bolotnaya Case Defendants Nets 500,000 Rubles

A picture of the rally on May 6, 2012. D. Abramov

Opposition supporters have collected more than 500,000 rubles ($12,000) in a charity auction, with the proceeds going toward the cause of the Bolotnaya defendants.

Among the items auctioned off were two balaclavas worn by Pussy Riot punk rockers, opposition activist Alexei Navalny's first published interview, and the original document from City Hall approving the May 6 rally, RBC Daily reported.

Of the 500,000 rubles netted in Tuesday's auction, 414,000 rubles was paid in cash, one of the fundraiser's organizers wrote on his Twitter blog. He didn't say how the remaining sums were paid.

The case against the activists was opened after skirmishes broke out during an anti-government rally on Moscow's Bolotnaya Ploshchad on May 6, 2012, on the eve of Vladimir Putin's inauguration for his third presidential term.

The 28 defendants are accused of inciting riots and attacking police.

Human rights activists say the case against the suspects is politically motivated and that the authorities provoked the rally's participants. They have asked for an investigation to be conducted into whether police used excessive force during the protest.

A similar auction last year fetched 200,000 rubles, most of which was donated to the families of the detained activists or spent on subscriptions to periodicals. The money was also put toward buying fans for the detained protesters' overcrowded jail cells.

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