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Bolotnaya Rally Gets Go Ahead for Sunday, Nationalist March Awaits Approval

City Hall has authorized an Oct. 27 protest in support of the defendants in the highly politicized Bolotnaya case after rejecting two previous proposals from opposition organizers, a Kremlin security official said Thursday.

A march with up to 20,000 participants has been authorized, said Alexei Mayorov, head of security at City Hall, Interfax reported.

Participants will begin assembling at 2 p.m. on Pushkin Square, setting off an hour later toward their final destination at Turgenev Square, co-organizer Pyotr Tsarkov of the Solidarity movement said.

City Hall had rejected two previous proposals, the first for a 30,000-member march on Oct. 26 and the second for an identical event on Oct. 27. Both would have followed a similar route but continued past Turgenev Square to Lubyanskaya Ploshchad.

Moscow could host a second politically charged rally shortly after if the authorities rubber-stamp a nationalist march planned for early November that has caused trepidation in the city's immigrant communities.

"If we find out that the nationalists are going to hold a meeting, we will apply and hold our own alternative meeting," Muhammad Amin Madzhumder, head of the Russian Migrants Federation, said Tuesday, adding that he expects nationalists to use the platform to incite violence towards innocent people.

The "Russian March," earmarked by the organizers for National Unity Day on Nov. 4, could include a concert by rock group Kolovrat, the majority of whose recent songs have been deemed extremist by Russian courts and banned from distribution. The plans for the march come hot on the heels of a mass anti-immigrant riot in Moscow's Biryulyovo district earlier this month.

Dmitry Demushkin, leader of the nationalist association Russkiye (Russians) and former head of the banned Slavic Union, said Thursday that city authorities had given preliminary approval for the event and were now discussing technical issues with organizers.

Mayorov said later Thursday that City Hall has yet to formally approve the event.

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