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Preservationists Seek Permission for Rally Against Internet Censorship

A view of Pushkin Square, the site of the planned rally, during an opposition protest in May. Vedomosti

Activists from a little-known preservation group have applied to City Hall for permission to hold a rally against Internet censorship and plans to block access to YouTube over a video clip mocking Islam.

The Public Coalition in Defense of Moscow, which describes itself as an architectural preservation organization on its LiveJournal blog, told Interfax that the rally was planned for Oct. 4 on Pushkin Square for a maximum of 2,000 participants.

Organizers believe banning YouTube over the controversial "Innocence of Muslims" trailer, which has touched off violent demonstrations from the Middle East to Europe for its portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad as lecherous and greedy, "is unacceptable in a law-abiding, secular society."

The coalition's plans come after Internet providers in regions from Volgograd to Omsk have moved to block access to YouTube at the request of the Federal Mass Media Inspection Service and regional prosecutors.

Google, the company that operates YouTube, has rejected appeals to delete the video from its servers.

Meanwhile, federal prosecutors are seeking to implement a nationwide ban on the 14-minute trailer via a Moscow court, which will consider the case Oct. 17.

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