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State Duma Considering Bill Classifying Motor Rallies as Public Protests

Any violation of the altered law on rallies, if passed, will be subject to a fine from 300,000 rubles ($4500) for individuals and up to 1 million rubles for legal entities.

The State Duma, Russia's lower chamber of parliament, has expedited the passing of a bill that would equate motor rallies to public protests, the Vedomosti newspaper reported Tuesday.

The bill outlines that any “organized public display of opinions by a group of citizens with the use of any propaganda tools while driving vehicles” will be considered as demonstration. Motor rallies can lead to spontaneous protests and mass riots, according to the authors of the bill, Vedomosti reported.

Any violation of the altered law on rallies, if passed, will be subject to a fine from 300,000 rubles ($4500) for individuals and up to 1 million rubles for legal entities.

The committee has invited representatives of the Night Wolves, the infamous biker gang, and the drivers' rights group Blue Buckets to participate in a meeting to discuss the bill.

"Officials are concerned that cars might be used for protests after recent nationwide truckers' strikes," Petr Shkumatov, a co-ordinator of the Blue Buckets, was quoted as saying by Vedomosti.

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